Special Events

Ready, Set, Code — Session II

I didn’t take any pictures of our first coding session but I did this time so I thought I’d post them!

At this session we started by reviewing the definition of commands:

commands definition

Then we practiced our commands by playing The Name Game. We started by spelling out our first names on graph paper then writing down the commands to write each letter:

20170726_153138.jpg

You can see the sheet on the left has the key of up, down, left and right. Then they had to pick a starting point for each letter and write the commands from there. This program was designed for ages 6-10 and I had a few 5-year-olds who had some trouble with this one. But the older kids I had who were going into fourth and fifth grades loved it. I had one younger kid named Max and we all had to band together to help him design an X. That was a tough one! I got this idea from the book How to Code: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Coding: Book 1 by Max Wainewright. Fantastic book and series for this sort of program.

After The Name Game we talked about algorithms:

Algorithm definition.jpg

And programs:

program definition.jpg

(If you’re wondering, I got the template for the robot signs on postermywall.com.)

Then it was time for graph paper programming. This concept was difficult for the younger ones so beware. The older kids did great.

20170726_153203.jpg

We started at the left. The yellow star in the top left corner was our starting point. The text at the bottom were our instructions. We followed our instructions to make a pattern. But we discussed how those instructions in long form were tedious and took up a lot of room.

The next image is the coded instructions. On that blank piece of paper we designed the code for that image together.

On the second to last paper is a code we did together on the blank graph paper which gave them an idea of how to play the game. Then I paired them up. One person wrote the code and gave it to the other person who followed the code and hopefully, made the correct image based on the instructions. I gave them six images to follow but, of course, they could make up their own images if they wished.

20170726_153153.jpg

I got this idea here.

Finally, we ended with a craft. I explained what binary code is and the kids spelled out their names in code:

20170726_153248.jpg

You can see the ASCII Alphabet in binary above my example craft. The 1’s in binary code are black and the 0’s are white. Of course, they could pick any color they wanted. I got the strips here and based the idea on the necklaces I found here. Logistically, a paper craft is easier for us.

So that was our second coding session. One more to go!

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