Sunday, December 4, 2016

Before One Can Code, One Must Understand the Computer

"Is this the correct spot for the hard drive?"  No joke, phrases like that issued from my elementary students mouths this past week.  I was geeking out while students worked together to build pretend computers.  

The "My First Computer" activity came from the author of the book, Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas.  The book focuses on a girl named Ruby who is a very independent and imaginative spirit.  For example, when she is told to get dressed, she puts her outfit over her pajamas because she was never told to take her pajamas off.  

Ruby's adventure begins when she receives a postcard from her father letting her know there are gems hidden around their neighborhood for her to find.  Ruby decides to make a plan which includes finding clues (which she does in her father's office) to make a map of where the gems are located.

Once Ruby begins her adventure--she meets penguins, foxes, a snow leopard, robots, and Django with his pet Python.  Ruby's planning and hunt for the gems teach skills related to coding--breaking big problems into small ones, sequencing, algorithm, looping, etc.  

The back of the book has quite the selection of activities to help kids practice computational thinking.  

Back to the "My First Computer" activity...I adapted this for multiple classes by printing out only enough color copies for students to work in pairs.  The pieces were laminated and cut out so that they could be reused.  Students used tacky putty to place items together and that made it easy to remove them.  

The students LOVED this activity and some were disappointed that they didn't get to take the computer home.  Once I told them that they could visit the Hello Ruby website they were so excited!

1 comment: