During the week of December 8-14, the various groups got together to encourage teachers to teach computer science to their students. Various activities have been designed to give students an opportunity to play with computer code and work at their own pace to solve puzzles. To begin the lesson I show the class the opening 5 minute video that explains what code is. This five minute video really gets the students excited for the activity.
I use our computer lab. The internet is needed to do the tutorials that have been designed for students. Once we are in the computer lab I pull up the tutorial on code with Elsa and Anna from Frozen. Students will watch how I use the coding formulas to control the pattern I want Elsa to skate in. Each level has a different pattern where students have to write the correct code so that the character skates the appropriate directions to form the correct snowflake shapes.
It is now the students turn to try out the coding process. Each student will work at their pace. Within every level, students have to determine the proper code to get there character to skate the snowflake pattern. Each level is scaffolded and students work on initial steps before adding new coding techniques. I walk around and help students understand the coding process by acting out for the students the codes they have written. By doing so, students realize what they are missing in their code. Some students figure out quickly the patterns and codes. Other students are frustrated when they do not feel it is going well. I offer help and encouragement, but do not let them give up on puzzle.
After the hour is up, we go back to class to have discussion on the hour. Students are very excited to share how far they got, the challenges they faced, and the triumphs that occurred as they explored other options. Many wanted to do this activity and others like it again. We discussed why computer science is so important and students were very quick to connect to how technology has impacted our lives.