Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week 3 - A Computer Science Reflection

Week 3 of #CS4WDMS was a week of making connections.  I am using the accelerated course in, in which the students completed The Maze lesson, which consisted of 20 puzzles, and The Artist lesson, which consisted of 10 puzzles.  

In The Maze, the object for each puzzle was to navigate the bird or zombie to the pig or sunflower. As each puzzle was completed, the next one was more challenging.  Additionally, there were more difficult command blocks available as the students progressed through the puzzles.  A challenge for the students was to complete the program using the recommended amount of command blocks.  If the students used more than the recommended amount of command blocks, did not mark the puzzle as completed.   When I introduced the interface to the students, I pointed out all of the areas of the editor, including this information.  I found they were conscious of the number of blocks needed to complete the puzzle. 

Also, in The Artist, , the object for each puzzle was to use the block commands to trace over the specific shape(s) shown in the output section of the editor.  In this lesson, pixels and degrees of an angle were the unit of measure being used.  As the students progressed through the lesson, the shape(s) shown in the output section were more challenging than the previous puzzle.  Overall, I found this lesson to be more challenging than The Maze.    

Many of the students worked independently until they reached puzzle 5. As they were troubleshooting, I decided to have them make connections with the command blocks and the JavaScript code.   

I displayed the answer key for puzzle 5 on the board, which was written in JavaScript.  Then, I explained each line of code. We compared the JavaScript to the command blocks so they can make connections and see the differences between the two.  We discussed commands, loops, variables, initializing and incrementing variables, units of measure, and syntax.  I also explained that computers do not understand block commands, they understand source code like JavaScript.  At this point, students were able to use JavaScript and critical thinking skills to create the correct block base code in the editor for puzzle 5.  

After that, I displayed the JavaScript code on the board for a few more puzzles.  The students were able to connect the correct block base command to the JavaScript code.  I was amazed to see how quick they picked up on the source code.  Some students were even able to explain it to their peers.  I witnessed a break through moment for my students, in which I knew they felt successful and achieved leadership skills. 

Many of the students  had prior knowledge of because they completed the Hour of Code course on the website last year.  However, they did not complete the accelerated course, and they did not discuss in detail about the sections of the Blockly editor, and the JavaScript code.    

As week 3 comes to an end, next week will be my last week with this group of students.  I will be using Ozobots next week to expose them to more block base coding, Ozocodes, and more computer science concepts.  

I am planning to implement different manipulatives to each group of students such as Ozobots, Bloxels, and Littlebits.  Also, I will be alternating between and CS First, but for now, I will be using  

Stay tuned for my next blog post on my student's experiences using Ozobot.  Follow my class on Instagram at Mrs.Mattina and follow #CS4WDMS on Twitter.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your lessons and experiences! Which ozobots are you using? We just started using the Evo version. Would love to share some challenges between our students? What grade are you teaching?