But it was an awesome day. Three classes of Hour of Code 2014 activities from Code.org, Tynker, & Code Kingdoms for 2nd and 4th graders plus two classes of Scratch and then Code Club after school. A few 4th graders were with me for couple of these hours, too. I wonder if they dreamed about coding too?
For Computer Science Education Week, or “Hour of Code” week, I had the 4th grade math group I work with write math games in Scratch. The project idea comes from the Scratch resources on Computers for Creativity‘s website. The students were paired up and given two math periods to work on the project. I showed them the two math games that students had made last year:
I handed out a one page project outline form and a print out of the guidelines to each pair.
With not very much time to work on it, I warned them to keep the project simple. Get the game working with one math question, then build on it. I also made sure there was a Code Club member in each pairing, so at least one person had some knowledge of Scratch. I then I let them go.
I set their teacher up on Scratch online and he started a math game himself. That was Monday. Yesterday my plan was to have them finish up. My friend and co-worker in this class suggested they might need more time. She had gone home and tried to make a Scratch math game and had some questions. (How cool it that? I’ll have to give both adults their “Hour of Code” certificate.) But it is true, I did give the students a big, creative project and only a little bit of time to do it. From what I saw on Monday, only a couple of pairs were making their game too complicated and or not working well together. We decided to conference with the each pair during the period to see if they had questions, needed feedback and as a general check-in to see if they were going to make the deadline. First, though, the students “conferenced” and helped their teacher with his math game.
By the end of math on Wednesday, most of the groups were very close to having a working game. We decided another half period might be warranted. Then we’ll share them and try them out.
I heard one student say this coding stuff was great and he wanted to sign up for the next round of Code Club.
Oh, yeah, Code Club was great too. Everyone busy working on their own games. Recording their voices. Being successful, or at least satisfied, in drawing their sprites and backgrounds. I really enjoy troubleshooting Scratch projects and seeing all the creative and interesting ideas these 4th graders have. My volunteers are really great, too.