The week of December 9th - December 15, 2013 is Computer Science Education Week, where students should have the opportunity to learn concepts of Computer Science, such as computer programming and coding, for at least one hour. Having a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science/Information Systems and being a former Computer Programmer, I am so excited to have the opportunity to share this experience with many 7th and 8th grade students at the William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, NJ.
Prior to this week, I have persuaded two of my peers, Malika Green and Meghan Fitzgerald to participate in the Hour of Coding Challenge. I found resources for them and we brainstormed some ideas to implement this important concept into their classrooms. Instead of allowing students to learn about coding for just one hour, we have decided to teach this concept for the entire week.
In Literacy Media Technology class, taught by Meghan Fitzgerald, she is having the students learn how to code using Scratch. They will create an animated holiday card that allows students to include sprites, which are avatars, images, animations, sound effects, background scenes, and text. When they are completed, they will be able to share and send their holiday cards with their teacher. All of these effects are done using coding.
In STEM class, taught by Malika Green, I will be integrating technology by teaching computer programming for the entire week to her classes. Each day, I will be presenting a different tool to code.
Since students may be familiar with embedding HTML code from webpages, I thought it would be a good idea to teach them HTML, Hyper Text Markup Language. They will use the Notepad application that is installed on their netbooks to type their code. I will introduce several concepts such as HTML tags (these are commands), syntax, and debugging skills. They will learn about the required tags that are needed in an html file, plus learn about formatting tags and others that are listed below.
- font style
- text color
- text size
- center justify
- page break
- insert an image
- line break
- numbered list
- horizontal line
They will also learn how to save their file as an .html file and execute it immediately to view the results of their code. If the results are incorrect, they will troubleshoot and debug the code accordingly. The purpose of teaching them HTML is for them to understand the complexity of creating webpages.
On the second day, I will allow them to play the Angry Birds Maze Challenge on The Hour of Code website. This is a GUI interface so the students may find it more user friendly then coding HTML. Students will program the bird by dragging the pieces that are labelled with the command to the work space. This will allow the bird to move through the maze to find the pig. When they execute the code and it is correct, the bird will find the pig and the student will move on to the next maze. If the code is incorrect, they will have to debug it and try again. They will complete as many levels as they can. The higher the level the more difficult the maze becomes.
The third day, I will allow them to play the Light Bot Challenge on The Hour of Code website. This is another GUI interface that will allow students to program the robot through the puzzle to change the color of the blue tiles to yellow. Again, they have to program the robot by dragging the pieces that are labelled with the command to the work space. This will navigate the robot to jump to the space and change the color of the tile. If the code is correct, the student will move onto the next puzzle. If the code is incorrect, the students will have to troubleshoot it and try again. They will complete as many levels as they can. The higher the level the more difficult the puzzle becomes.
The last two days, I will teach them how to code using Scratch. This is a GUI interface that will allow them to drag pieces that are labelled with the command to the work space to control the sprite. The sprite is an avatar on the scene. The application offers a few short tutorials on how to get started. They will go through the tutorials and create an animated card. When they are completed, they will share their animated card with me using a Google Form.
In conclusion, this is my lesson plan. However, I will make adjustments if necessary. If needed, I will have students learn computer programming using Khan Academy. I am anticipating a successful week of computer programming! However, I will follow up with my experiences after I complete these lessons.