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Code the Bots! Block Coding in Javascript

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Keywords: computer science, coding, programming, technology, SAMR, robots, ELL, ESOL, English Language Learners, second language learning, blended classroom, blended instruction, career, Dash, Dot, ENGLISH
Subject(s): Information Skills, Algebra, Social Studies, Video, Social Skills, Technology, Geography, Dyslexia, Science, Special Needs, Writing, Reading, Math, English/Language Arts
Grades K through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Oakcliff Elementary School, Doraville, GA
Planned By: Heather Miller
Original Author: Heather Miller, Doraville
Purpose: Computer science education is as important as core subject instruction. Our kids are digital natives who must navigate technology is in every industry, as a consumer and through this series of lessons, as producers.

The best, highest paying jobs will be in programming technologies. This means kids who can program in multiple computer languages are the kids with the most upward mobility. In short, coding and computer science can equalize opportunity for girls, children of color, and second language learners.

Overview: This is an entire curriculum, made up by several free courses, which include series of lessons. The common starting point assumes student have little to no knowledge or experience with computer science, or computer coding. Each student begins with Code.org’s Course 1 or Course 2, depending on his or her grade level. Code.org’s Courses 1-4 and the Accelerated Courses use puzzles in each lesson, imbedding computer science concepts and programming concepts via puzzles. Many lessons spiral back covering previous concepts, then quickly progressing to puzzles that incorporate previous concepts and new concepts. These courses can be completed independently, at home, during free time, and during weekly Code Club meetings. Each course is approximate 20 hours of contact time with the material.

As students matriculate through the Code.org courses, a live teacher is available to show different methods of coding that result in each lesson’s objective. For example, many younger students quickly lose focus on writing “beautiful code,” using as many lines as needed to solve the problem/puzzle; this means younger students forget to use the loop functions. A live teacher helps refocus students as they lose focus, get stuck, or otherwise need help to learn the lesson’s objective or concept.

Redefinition of how students interact with technology. Students are moving from mere consumers to creators and producers of the technology. This curriculum is a transformation of education and technology. This curriculum is designed to give kids an education in technology that allows them to create new things that were previously inconceivable. The technology education redefines what kids are able to do with a computer and technology. Redefinition is the highest level of education on the SAMR Model. The SAMR Model is the technology education equivalent of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html


All Level Coders:
Code Club: The Code Club will meet weekly. Girls will have an additional opportunity to meet in a girls only setting, to encourage increased participation by girls in computer science. Whole club meetings will have 2-3 additional meetings per month. Live teachers who are familiar with coding will teach small-group lessons, and help individual students through tougher concepts. Additional adults will lead “unplugged computer science programming activities” available through the Code.org curriculum. https://code.org/curriculum/unplugged . Guest speakers will present careers, their own story, and also stimulate students to consider college and career opportunities that they might never be exposed to otherwise.

Girls Code will be a code club day where the girls are invited to come do coding things that are designed to appeal to girls. Code.org/girls - https://code.org/girls.
Example: Emojis for girls is one such activity.
also plan to have additional activities geared towards girls, including bringing in female professionals as guest speakers, live and via Skype, to get the girls interested in coding as a career and also as part of another chosen profession. We plan to have some of these activities during whole club meetings as well, but girls are a target group for computer science education.

BEGINNER-BEGINNER TO ADVANCED-BEGINNER: Code.org’s Courses 1 and 2 are our starting point. Every student begins with one of these two courses for an introduction into computer science concepts using the computer. Course 2 requires some reading, and the kids will all work through this course. Those students who excel at Course 2 and complete it will move to Course 3 and 4. This is a complete introductory course for Javascript programming using blocks.

For students who struggle with Code.org’s Level 1, each will have the opportunity to use Osmo. Osmo uses actual blocks to do very beginning coding, using the Osmo ipad adapter, until each student is comfortable with the physical blocks. Then those students will return to Course 1.

Course 1 - The Code.org Curriculum - free
http://studio.code.org/s/course1 Ages 4-6, early readers, generally K-3rd grades will begin here, then complete Course 2.
Code.org’s Course 1:
• Sequences
• Loops and events
• Meaningful collaboration with others
• Problem-solving and perseverance techniques
• Internet safety

Osmo Coding
Osmo uses tactile blocks to introduce the youngest coders to coding with blocks. This is planned for the youngest K-2nd grade coders who are still operating in the concrete-operational stage of learning. Because the games and stories are programmed with physical blocks, children will develop computer science concepts in a concrete, hands-on method accessible to the earliest learners.

Run Marco
Run Marco is an early elementary Blockly based adventure game that takes kids through coding much like Code.org’s Course 1 and 2. This coding adventure feels extremely game-like yet it also teaches computer science concepts similar to Course 1 and Course 2. Students enrolled in Code Club will also get a login and password to Run Marco.

BEGINNER-BEGINNER: The kids are assigned to Course 1 or Course 2 at Code.org. Code.org offers a free curriculum and training platform that our school is using existing computers, ipads, and students’ own devices.

Course 2 - The Code.org Curriculum - free
http://studio.code.org/s/course2 Ages 6+, readers, generally 4th and 5th grades will begin here
Code.org’s Course 2:
• Conditionals
• Algorithms
• Binary code
• Debugging
• Societal impacts of computing

Course 3 - The Code.org Curriculum - free
http://studio.code.org/s/course3 Ages 8+, pre-requirement Course 2, all grades

Code.org’s Course 3:
• Problem decomposition
• Functions
• Nested loops and conditionals
• Digital citizenship
• Internet transmission methods
Blockly is the standard visual block coding language created by Google and used by Code.org. Blockly will be introduced when the kids move through Levels 3 and 4 of the code.org site. The Blockly site enables kids to build code with blocks still, but it shows actual code “under the hood” in a variety of programming languages. Blockly is designed for the kids who are successful completing set tasks, but are not quite ready to code using the languages “under the hood” of the blocks. Blockly takes students from learning to code with blocks to building code to learn and create new things. The code “under the hood” is there, but the comfort of using blocks to code is also present.

Course 4 - The Code.org Curriculum – free
http://studio.code.org/s/course4 Ages 10+, pre-requirement Course 3, all grades

Code.org’s Course 4:
• Prereq Course 3
• Algorithmic problem solving
• Abstraction
• Variables
• For Loops
• Functions with Parameters
• Binary code
INTERMEDIATE CODERS - The Wonder League Competition Team

One highly anticipated program is the opportunity for students K-5th grade, to program Wonder League’s robots, Dash and Dot. Programming these robots are strategically placed in this curriculum to motivate students who have already completed the beginning levels of Code.org’s Courses, and are transitioning into harder, more complex, but completely attainable concepts of computer science and programming. Student programmed Dash and Dot robots will compete in the 2016 Wonder League Competitions, hosted by The Wonder League.

As soon as students complete Code.org’s Course 2, they may join one of our school’s Competition Teams. Each student will continue working on Course 3 or the Accelerated Course through Code.org, while programming actual robots, completing real-life tasks that make up missions. Our school can host as many teams as we have qualified members. There are 3 programmers per robot. This is our need. We estimate we will have a need for ten Dash robots, 10 Dot robots, and their accessories. Yes, we estimate we will have up to 60 kids participating in our extra-curricular program.

The robots Dash and Dot are dynamic. They are “cute” but powerful. They are designed to be appealing to kids in the upper elementary age range. Tasks, called missions, are designed to appeal to upper elementary school in complexity and sophistication. Coding is still block-based, like Code.org’s courses, but the coding moves into real-life. The robots are sturdy and physically large enough to be used in a team setting. The software used to program the robots is similar to the block-based coding, Blockley, that is used in Code.org’s courses, so the competition teams will be building on their previously learned material. Dash and Dot have a history of being highly motivating to students. To that end, we need Dash and Dots.

Dash and Dot Classroom Pack $2,620.00
For the best student-to-device ratio in your class so that your students can work in groups of 2 or 3, we recommend this pack.

This pack includes:
* 10 x Dash
* 10 x Dot
* 5 x Accessories Pack
* 5 x Building Brick Connector
* 5 x Xylophone
* 2 x Curriculum Subscription (For 1 Year)

“Under the Hood”
In addition to Competition Team, a host of other curriculum programs will be made available, as described below. At this point in their learning, students will have considerable understanding of major computer science concepts, and will continue to develop an understanding of the advanced concepts. Students will still be coding using Blockly, or similar block-based programs, but will be encouraged to begin examining the coding “under the hood” which is actual Javascript. “Under the hood” means the actual code, without the support of blocks. This transitional level, so students will still rely on block-based programming tools, while actively examining the code “under the hood.” The goal of the intermediate level is to allow students the opportunity to move at their own pace, towards independent programming in Javascript.

Interested students may also explore HTML and CSS, the coding of most websites.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!!
Students who make it through all of the basic and intermediate coding with the Blockly based platforms, can continue to program in Code.org’s PlayLab. Harvard University and University of Berkely both use Blockly or similar in their college level introductory courses. The students in this curriculum are elementary students, and are somewhat limited in their coding by their study of high school maths. Additional coding opportunities exist and we plan to offer those as they become available and teaching staff learn the systems and programs:

Parrot Mini-drone “Rolling Spider

The “Rolling Spider” mini-drone is planned for the students who have progressed through the computer science curriculum at code.org. Because this drone can ‘climb walls and ceilings,” students programming the mini-drone must demonstrate maturity and responsibility to operate the drone safely with adult supervision.

Swift Playgrounds (Apple App Language)
Swift is the Language used to program Apple Compatible Apps. Because this language is specific to Apple products, this lesson plan has it later in the program, for the children who want to learn it.

Minecraft modification
Minecraft is a student favorite, and some kids will relish in the chance to learn how to make mods for Minecraft. Because there is a cost for some of these programs, it is expected that kids interested in pursuing this coding opportunity with bring their own device.
We have many technological resources already available through Title I, which we plan to use to support coding and computer science education. Our course and lesson plans will use as many free resources as possible, including Code.org’s pedagogically sound curriculum, and robotic programming appropriate for elementary school students, Wonder League’s Dash and Dot. WE NEED funding for a Dash and Dot Classroom Pack at $2,620.00. This pack includes 10 Dash robots, 10 Dot robots, and accessories. It will support up to 60 kids, many of whom are English Language Learners.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Dash and Dot are Robots, and learning to code the robots is transforming. These skills take students to an educational level where they can re-define life’s tasks and school assignments, in previously inconceivable ways. By learning to code, students have the tools to take a traditional task and gamify it, or otherwise transform it. Gamifying a traditional task (1) demonstrates a deep understanding the underlying rules for the concept, (2) creates a functional conflict for the game, and (3) creates a model for presentation for the concept. Because the concept is gamified, it is sharable for other students.

Under the SAMR model, coding allows students to move up the performance levels of complexity.
• Substitution: At a basic level, students may substitute the Robots directly for story telling supporting ELA and social studies assignments like story telling, narrative writing, or any place a character is created and used.
• Augmentation: Students may augment assignments for math, science, social studies, and ELA by substituting traditional tools with a functional improvement to the assignment by using the programmed robtos, or Blockley coded stories. Students may use Blockley or the robots to create their own stories, settings, and characters transforming any number of English Language Arts, science, social studies, and math activities and assignments from traditional assignments into functionally improved assignments, including publication.
• Modification: Continuing up the SAMR model, students may significantly redesign the traditional task for any subject using Blockly coding, Javascript coding, and the Dash and Dot robot programming.
• Redefinition - The most complex level: By completing this curriculum of lessons, students can re-define life tasks and school assignments in previously inconceivable ways.
Links: Course 1 – The Code.org Curriculum
Osmo Coding
Makewonder’s Dash and Dot
Code.org • Unplugged computer science programming activities
SAMR Model - the technology education equivalent of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning
Materials: Integrating Technology, Cause and Effect, Dyslexia
Other Items: 1 Dash and Dot Classroom Pack 10 Dash Robots, 10 Dot Robots, 5 Accessory packs, 5 bruick connectors, 5 xylophones, 2 curriculum subscriptions, $2,620.00 each