Coding & Robotics
Coding is the art of telling a computer (or robot) exactly what to do so that the computer does exactly what you want. Coders, or programmers, provide the detailed sets of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Since we are living is a world that is increasingly dominated by computers it only makes sense that we teach kids the about these codes (languages) as we build their computational and problem solving skills.
Get Going Early
As a start, we can show our young students that a computer code is basically a sequence that tells a computer how one thing should follow another. Sequencing is an important skill for kids to develop and their routines at school or home provide some great examples of why step-by-step directions can be quite important .
Colby the Coding Mouse provides a great way to introduce younger kids to coding. In this case, Colby is the computer that we have to tell exactly what to do. To get to the cheese, the sequence has to be just right.
Coji is an inexpensive robot that uses Emoji’s to code the robot. It works through an app via Bluetooth and it teaches the importance of coding proper input to get proper output. An excellent introduction.
Ozobots are miniature robots that are programmed to read sequences of colors (color codes). Different sequences of 2-4 colors instruct the Ozobot to move in different ways. Ozobots come with a bunch of excellent lessons that integrate grade specific content.
Drag and Drop Rocks for Elementary and Middle School
Drag and drop coding (sometimes called block coding) is a simple computer coding language that relies on graphics and visual relationships. With drag and drop coding, you program a computer by dragging puzzle-like pieces together in the way that you want your computer to function. While the dragging and dropping can seem like a game, you can actually get computers to do some amazing things using this simple language. Drag and Drop Rocks explains more about this coding language if you're really interested.
Scratch Jr is a well known drag and drop computer language. Using Scratch Jr, you program animated characters known as sprites to do things on your iPad or device. You can also practice using key coding tools such as loops and conditionals.