The 3rd graders that have been learning Scratch really came through during Computer Science Education Week and produced 11 goofy and wonderful little math games. Last week we took the time to reflect and give feedback. I am really impressed with their coding and want to jot down the lessons that occurred so I can repeat this again if I get the chance.

Here’s the list of lessons:

1. Intro to Scratch (Sprite, Stage, events, move, looks) -the basics introduced, time given to explore.

2. Etch-a-sketch (more events, pen)

3. Trick or Treat (if-then-else, ask-answer)

4. Draw Your Initial (coordinate system, glide, pen) -for this lesson I had in mind to teach the Scratch coordinate system where (0,0) is the center of the screen. I had them pick a Sprite of their choice and code it to glide around in the shape of their first (or last) initial. I modeled gliding in a square while they followed first.

I handed out half sheets with the scratch grid on it so they could draw out their initial, figure out the coordinates then add the glide blocks. Pen down and repeats were added at the end for extra flair.

5. Math game design outline (design sheet)

6. Math game coding (Pair programming)

7. Sharing and giving feedback

My expectation was that they’d code one math questions with two different outcomes like the Trick of Treat lesson.

Only this time they were working in pairs and had to come up with their own theme and math question. They worked on it for almost two math sessions and then I put them up on the Scratch website.

Last week they got to play all the games and give each other feedback. One student thought they were going to get to rate the games and he declared he always gives bad ratings to online games. Instead I handed out sheets for them to give each game “2 stars and a wish” (This is something I came across in a FutureLearn MOOC on Teaching Computing)

Giving good feedback is actually a lot of work. I asked them to play each game twice, one time get the math question correct and then play it again and give the wrong answer. Then they had to find two things they liked about the game and one thing they wished it would do differently. I enjoy this feedback part of the game making.

Oh yeah, 4th graders made math games, too. What a difference a year and a bit of Code Club does to the complexity of the games made. They also worked on giving 2 stars and a wish feedback this week.