Yesterday, Pre-k participated in our second annual “Hour of Code” event. We didn’t actually spend an hour on the project, but the computer programming that we played with was lots of fun! The four instructors (Dave Nasar, Dave Piemme and Jonathan Ringer from the Upper and Middle schools and our own Kate Webber) explained that computer programming was a simple as giving someone or something directions. The students’ first task was to help a wee paper mouse work its way through a maze to a piece of cheese. Small pieces of paper represented Up, Down, Left and Right. Each child took turns guiding the mouse along its path.
As the mazes became progressively more difficult, other “special” commands were introduced.
After much practice, the children moved on to Kodable, an iPad app with similar parameters. For this task, the children directed a fuzzy creature through mazes while practicing planning, problem solving, the Scientific Method and visual-spacial skills.
If you are more curious about Hour of Code, check out Computer Science Education Week. Here is a short introduction found within their site:
We live in a world surrounded by technology. And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. But only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and less students are studying it than a decade ago.
That’s why schools across the nation joined in on the largest education event in history: The Hour of Code. During Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14), students will be amongst over 2 million worldwide spending one hour learning the basics.
See http://hourofcode.org for details.
Last week, our school participated in a worldwide initiative called The Hour of Code. This project is designed to help promote computer sciences in all classrooms and to spark the curiosity of children while they are young. It also helps to show children that computer programming can be as simple as playing games.
Our Pre-K students worked with the members of our technology department from the city campus and discussed how robots need instructions or commands in order to do a job. Some robots react to buttons or joysticks, while others use voice and face recognition. When you write code, you need the same ingredients.
We then played a game where one teacher pretended to be a robot that needed instructions from the students on how to build a tower of blocks. Instructions like “build the floor” were not specific enough for the robot to know what to do. The students had to really think about what words they needed to use for the robot to understand. Directions such as “pick up the rectangle block and put it on the floor” gave enough detail for the robot to do his job.
After our discussion, we broke up into small groups and played an app called Daisy the Dinosaur. The students had to choose different actions for Daisy to do. At first, the students just picked one action at a time, then they began making long lists for Daisy to accomplish. When they felt that the list was complete, the students hit play and watch Daisy perform her silly dance of flips and turn, growing and shrinking.
The students loved the idea that they were in charge of that happened to Daisy, and more importantly, that they were able to do it independently. We encourage you to look into some of the activities that promote computer sciences at home as well http://csedweek.org/learn . Perhaps someday your little one could be the next computer engineer!