Guest Blogger – Terry Graff from Errington Elementary

 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

I remember my very first computer…it was a Timex Sinclair keyboard computer with 2k of memory. I had asked for and received it as a Christmas present in about 1982, maybe 1983. I plugged it into my 12 inch black and white TV and used the little book that came with it to program a pong game that we were able to view and play on the TV screen.

I find it interesting that I seem to have come full circle and am now embarking on another coding adventure, this time with my class of grade five and six students!

Having recently submitted a proposal for a SET-BC Coding Inquiry Project”, I was very excited to find out that my project proposal had been successful.

“Project Summary:

Does teaching elementary students in a diverse classroom to code have a positive impact on student engagement and learning across the curriculum?

Steve Job said, “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you to think.”.  Coding programs get students thinking.  Using Scratch, Hopscotch, Hour of Code to develop apps and practice coding the students will develop a basic understanding of block coding, create basic digital presentations and/or games with a cross-curricular focus.”

I am also hoping that my students will be able to practice real world applications of coding by “playing” with robots; writing code to control their actions and movements. I am currently researching and reviewing robotic options that are suitable for the upper intermediate age range. Here is a review of my findings.

My first excursion was online. I managed to locate a company near my location called BC Robotics. On the next Saturday I took a road trip down to Nanaimo and checked out their stock of robotic equipment and supplies. I decided to purchase two items, the “SparkFun Mini Inventor’s Kit” and the “Zumo Robot for Arduino, v1.2 (Assembled with 75:1 HP Motors)”. I will post my review of these programs specifically in relation to their compatibilityto web based coding programs like Scratch and Hopscotch.

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Terry Graff – Intermediate Teacher Errington Elementary