Coding in Grade 1
First grade students continued their exploration of coding! They began with "unplugged" activities, using physical activities and paper to demonstrate how to utilize algorithms. This past week, the students were introduced to Scratch Jr. This app available on the iPads allow students to begin using coding blocks.
Each block is similar to the full Scratch program available on the computer, using the same color coding system. Rather than using words on each block, there are pictures to help children decide which block they need. The students loved this program and couldn't wait to dive right in!
This week in Mr. Tutino’s class, students had the opportunity to conceptualize the basics of coding in three dimensional form instead of one dimensional on screen! As a class the students had to work to solve a problem by creating an algorithm that moved their classmate to a desired goal on the workspace. Students composed an algorithm with directional commands to complete this task or to create a “program”.
In this rudimentary stage the students were able to list necessary steps (commands) to move their classmate on the map, arrange those directions (commands) to meet the predetermined goal (or function of the program), and predict the if the commands will execute the goal of the program. This pre-screen learning enhanced the students skills in computational thinking, understanding of specific commands to meet specific goals in programming, and applied new vocabulary in a simulation to explore complex systems and issues. This activity should make for a smooth transition to on screen time in the coming weeks!