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The Hopscotch website features seven highly flexible lesson plans that help demonstrate how computer programming principles can be relevant and easily incorporated into a broader curriculum. Teachers can take advantage of the developer's suggestions and adapt the lesson plans to fit their classroom's needs. Lessons focus on learning code and also on exploring underlying concepts that are easily applicable to other areas such as math, science, and even literature. Some specific themes that teachers can explore are logical and critical thinking, algorithms, problem-solving, symbolic understanding, clarity, or perseverance.
Look at the Hopscotch community board with kids to explore what others have made and get inspiration. Show them how to examine the code of any project they find. Create a private "crew" so kids can share and collaborate with their classmates. Encourage them to learn from one another through sharing and remixing.Continue reading Show less
Kids explore computer science as they drag and drop blocks of code to create mini-programs. They can browse through posted projects or templates for ideas of what's possible, or watch how-to videos that show how to make a drawing program, design a website, create a game, and more. Once they're ready, kids will get down to business choosing rules that make characters move and draw, and that determine looks and sounds. They'll experiment with computer programming concepts like abstraction, value, flow, sequencing, loops, variables, functions, and conditional logic.
Kids can share their projects with a private teacher-created community (one of the perks of the school edition) or with the Hopscotch community at large. Kids can also "remix," or view and change the code for any posted project. Look also for seven great lesson plans included with the app.
Programming can be difficult, sophisticated work requiring precision, planning, logic, trial and error, and lots and lots of patience. Hopscotch School Edition makes programming accessible for kids without dumbing down the underlying process. All programming options are packaged in neat drag-and-drop blocks, or they can be adjusted with simple scales. In practice, this means kids focus on higher-order critical-thinking themes like cause and effect, actions, and constructing logical sequences rather than getting lost in the details of learning a complicated programming language.
Besides some essential demonstration videos, there's very little direction in navigating the app's features or in creating projects. Kids will need time and patience to explore and learn before they can fully take advantage of the app's capabilities. More explicit guidance would help this app appeal to more kids. Overall, though, Hopscotch is an accessible entrée into the world of computer science, and it can easily serve as a platform for broader learning themes such as critical and logical thinking, planning, and more.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.