Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hour of Code - Unplugged

As the Hour of Code gets closer -- I'm getting more and more excited.  This year, I am going to incorporate more unplugged activities into my lessons.  I recently took one of the Code.org unplugged lessons and made a Google Slides presentation incorporating the main ideas.  I'm attaching a Slideshare of that presentation below.  I start the lesson by defining the word "algorithm".  An algorithm is a list of steps that you can follow to complete a task.  It's fun to ask the kids if they can think of simple algorithms for things we do every day -- brushing our teeth, making a sandwich, etc.

After our introduction discussion, the kids are given a sheet of paper with 6 four-by-four grids (graphs) printed on them (see image below).  They will follow the simple directions (or algorithms) on the slides to create a design by shading in certain squares on their graph paper.  The directions are in the form of visual arrows (left, right, up, down) and a lightning bolt (shade in square).  If they are correct, their four-by-four square will look like the example shown to them at the finish of each activity.

After completing four whole group practice runs, the students are given the opportunity to use one of the two remaining squares to create their own design.  They will then partner with someone and give them verbal directions (left, right, up, down, fill) so that they can copy the design on their last remaining square.

Simple.  Fun.  Engaging.

Happy Coding everyone!

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