Great intro to the idea of programming for the youngest students

Submitted 8 years ago
Tracy Y.
Tracy Y.
Maranatha Christian Schools
San Diego CA, US
My Rating

My Take

I was looking for a way to introduce the concept of "programming" to the youngest learners, and this fit the bill. It introduced the concept of writing instructions that the computer would follow in a simple way that the young students could understand. I liked that it had a directed mode and a free-play mode. The directed mode served two purposes in my mind - to introduce that a computer program solves a problem and to introduce the concept of programming. I liked that there were more commands in the free-play mode than were demonstrated in the directed mode. And I especially liked that it simply executed the commands - if Daisy grew too big for the screen, you could no longer see her head and feet. This really drove home the point that the computer does what the commands are. The only disappointment was that there was a limit to how many commands could be put in the window in the free play mode.

How I Use It

I used this with kindergarten and first grade students as a whole class project, projecting from my ipad. I did it this way to allow for different reading levels. In follow up lessons, I will use our iPad cart and allow the students to create on their own - now that they have seen it work (and I can help those who might not be able to read "repeat", etc.). We first did the challenge mode as a class with students raising their hand to tell me what commands to drag and drop. This was especially useful, as they did not always choose correctly on the first try. So everyone got to see the iterative nature of programming. Then we went to the free play option and each person got to choose a command. We ran the programs and the students loved it. The only problem was the limit to the number of commands. We wanted to make a whole class program, but after a certain number of commands, new ones replaced old ones.
The students were engaged the entire lesson and wanted more.