Code Behind the Game

Sometimes when I have a Kindergarten class in the computer lab and I’m introducing a new online activity – like a connect-the-dots game or a drawing program, a fourth grader will come in to the lab to do some independent computer assignment – typing up a paper or picking up a print out – and get distracted by what the Kindergarteners are doing. Occasionally, if the 4th grader is a code club member, I’ll wonder out loud to them  – do you think we could write a connect-the-dots game in Scratch?

I want them to see beyond game play, behind the app and think about it’s mechanics – the code – the logic that runs it. This is a goal of mine.  I enjoy thinking about how apps work.  How decisions were made to make the user experience. How someone coded different features. I want my students to think about these things, too. When you think about how some tech thing was built or created you become more than a technology consumer.  It becomes less like magic and turns into something they could do.  The students become technology makers.

I think Scratch is helping with this goal. A weeks after writing their first game project in Scratch, one student remarked that he now looked at games differently. He sees the characters in the games he plays as Sprites.

Another student, in fact, asked me later, when we were going to write that connect-the-dots game in code club.

No code club last week, but we’re on again tomorrow!


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