We were thrilled to launch Powhatan’s computer science curriculum through participating in the global Hour of Code event last week!
Hour of Code Activities
Pre-K, Kindergarten & First Grade:
Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade used their gingerbread figures they had constructed in art class for their Carol Sing performance. Their gingerbread figures had buttons, bow ties, and faces painted on with conductive paint, and the students had to draw lines with a soft graphite pencil from each part to the edge of their gingerbread figure. Once they had their lines drawn, they had to test each one with the alligator clips connected to the Makey Makey. If their line was solid enough to send the signal through, they were able to make a sound play on the computer when they pressed each part on the gingerbread figures. If nothing played, they had to go back through and make sure their line was solid enough or that they were properly connected to the Makey Makey. After all of their parts and lines worked, they used the Scratch program to record their own voices, sounds, or whatever they could come up with to make the gingerbread figure do.
The second grade students designed game controllers using cardboard and the soft graphite pencils in their art classes. When they came to the Makerspace, we tested all of their lines in the same ways Pre-K through first grade did to make sure their connections were complete. When students tested for the first time, none of the controllers worked. They had to figure out what part of their connection was stopping the signal from getting to the computer, and overcome the mistakes they had made. It was a great exercise in critical thinking and problem solving. Once their controllers were working, they coded a simple game using Code.org and connected their controller with the Makey Makey to be able to play their game.
Third & Fourth Grade:
During the week prior, the third and fourth grade students spent time in technology class to complete tutorials and design a game using Code.org and in art class to construct an emoji game controller with reused plastic materials from the Makerspace. They used brass fasteners as their buttons so they had a conductive connection between their finger and the Makey Makey. Once their games were completed, they connected the alligator clips to the wings of their fasteners and tested out their game controllers. The students had to make sure their game was coded so that each of their buttons would make their game character do something, such as move or throw an object.
Fifth Grade & Upper School:
For the upper school students, they were given free range to choose which coding tutorials or programs interested them. All of the students are on different skill levels in regards to coding, so some students were starting off with tutorials to create a Snapchat filter or make a Flappy Bird game, while other students began with coding their own games or animations in Scratch. No matter where the students started at, they all had to use problem solving skills to figure out what parts of their codes may not be working or how to get their game to do what they want it to do. In addition to the coding projects, a team of sixth grade students wrote scripts and recorded videos or tutorials using WeVideo to help promote Powhatan’s Hour of Code event.