Best Coding Games for EU Code Week for Schools
Coding can seem like a very specialist subject but luckily there is no shortage of excellent curriculum programmes and coding games to help students (and teachers) develop their confidence and their coding skills. In fact, there are enough tools and resources on code.org, Scratch,Tynker, Sphero and theEveryone Can Code curriculum from Apple to develop these 21st Century skills across the curriculum right throughout the whole year!
...but why learn to code?
Below I have outlined a simple coding lesson suited to beginners using Apple's free Swift Playgrounds app with curriculum and skills based outcomes outlined to help you to get started with coding in your own classroom for Code Week and beyond. Simply grab an iPad, download Swift Playgrounds and follow the instructions below.
Your free Coding Lesson for Beginners
Step 1: How to Introduce Coding to your students
To introduce coding to your students, start with an activity on giving instructions like the one listed below on 'How to make a cup of tea'. It is important to tell children that a sequence is the order in which the commands or instructions are given.
Ask students to work together to put the commands in the correct sequence. Then ask them to share with the class why it is important that these instructions are put in the right order or else they will result in making a cup of tea incorrectly...which may not taste very nice.
Step 2: Learning to give the correct commands to problem-solve
Ask the children to access the Swift Playgrounds app, then tell them to tap on Learn to Code 1. Here the children will have the opportunity to solve problems and puzzles by putting commands in the correct sequence.
In this video, I walk through step by step how to give commands in coding in Swift Playgrounds.
*We recommend that children work through the levels in the lesson however in order to develop their sequencing and coding skills.
In each puzzle, children must give the character, named Byte, commands/instructions to move around the puzzle and collect gems. To do this they must tap the commands, written in the Swift language at the bottom of the screen. Once they are happy with their instructions and the sequence they should tap Run my Code at the bottom right of the screen. Some of these instructions are shown below. If correct, the children will move to the next level. If incorrect, children will have to identify what is wrong in the sequence and correct it - developing their problem solving and computational thinking skills.
In this video I show how to run your code in Swift Playgrounds to see if your commands are correct.
Step 3: Collaborating and Reflecting on Coding Skills
In the final minutes of the lesson, bring the children together and put up the Adding a New Command and Toggling a Switch levels on the Interactive Whiteboard or TV. Ask them to share the commands/instructions they used to solve the problem with their friends. If they have recorded video, ask them to share these also. This will allow other children to see the process of putting the commands in the correct order. these videos may also have captured examples of debugging, problem-solving and logical thinking.
For more practical lesson plans or exemplars on Coding in the Primary Classroom, check out my course on the Wriggle Connect platform today.
Or to take things further and get children thinking about designing their own app, you can take a look at Miriam and Lyndsey's course on App Prototyping in Keynote.