Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Cool Little Task in Problem Solving

While I was attending a great workshop at Ulearn16 based on Coding and Robotics I was introduced to a very cool little task in problem solving by Nicki Tempero and Jess Bond from CORE Education.  This involved using the printable coding cards from the Teacher's Resources found in the Scratch Jr website to begin the students thinking about coding and how it can work.

We undertook this task as a class yesterday afternoon, with the students discovering many things but most importantly their need to work together (collaborate) in order to complete the task I had given them.

They thought it was an easy one to do - choose one person to be a 'robot' then programme your robot to walk a square 4 steps x 4 steps.  We discussed the meaning of each of the programming blocks first - what could this look like as they created the program.  Then they were set to work.  Easy quickly became challenging with lots of discussion about which blocks to use.  As they discovered the blocks giving their 'robot' the ability to hop, say 'Hi', jump a number of times and so on their squares became more elaborate with actions added in at each corner.  Various methods were used to have their 'robot' move in the direction they needed it to, although as they begin to program the robotic kit creations yet to come there will again need to be some re-thinking.  Once the programming time was over they shared their programs with the class, looking at success and new learning that came from the failure to create the assigned shape.

For some it was the first time they had come across block programming in any form, for others it was a re-introduction but one still requiring some thought and problem solving.  It will not be the last they see of this activity as it is one we will use again in other ways.

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