Monday, October 31, 2016

Coding Scavenger Hunt

Engaging children in coding activities has been a priority for us this week. The children are very interested in mapping, grids, and giving each other directions so we want to capitalize on these expressed interests and weave in as much math and spatial reasoning as possible. 
A simple game that the children enjoyed was looking for treasure.  We created an array of post it notes on a large piece of chart paper.
Hidden underneath some of the post-its were silly emoji face stickers.

During circle we modeled how to give each other directions for moving on the grid using the coding commands we had been practicing - go up, go down, go left, go right, and jump.  We agreed that the starting point would be at the top, centre of the grid.
The programmer (Mrs. McLennan in the following picture) used the coding symbols and also orally gave the coding directions and the player had to follow the commands until the programmer stopped.

At that point the player lifted the note to see whether or not a 'treasure' (what the children termed the faces) was discovered beneath. If there was one, the programmer and player switched and someone else had a turn. If not, then directions continued to be given until one was eventually discovered.

The children became quite proficient at giving each other directions. We are working towards helping them understand that the directions need to go in over, line by line, and that when we write code we need to ensure they are in order.

This is also a great game for strengthening a child's listening skills as they have to pay careful attention to the directions and follow them precisely in order to be successful. Coding strengthens communication and cooperation. Children have to be patient with one another throughout the process too!

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