On Friday I had the opportunity to teach coding to 5 kindergarten classes for STEM day at Eanes Elementary. We weren’t sure if Scratch Jr would hold their attention for a 30-35 minute class period… but we were pleasantly surprised… because it did.
Coding with Kinder
I spent a few minutes introducing the interface and then presented them with 4 challenges (one challenge at a time):
- Create a New Project and Select a Background (Setting)
- Add Movement Blocks to have Scratch Jr Move – (We also discussed how the number underneath each movement block would repeat that action that many times rather than dragging the same block again)
- Add Action (e.g. Shrink, Grow, Disappear) and Text Blocks – (Students found very quickly that the number multiplier made the characters grow more quickly and many of them wanted the character to have a speech bubble with their name or lunch number. They also discovered that if you made a character disappear, that it would not reappear…without adding the Show Block).
- Add and Paint a Character – (I think this may have been their favorite. Students really enjoyed customizing and adding characters.)
Before I know it, students began having their characters interact and even adding their own audio recordings. I have to say that Scratch Jr. is a natural choice to teach programming but also offers a lot of cross-curricular integrations such as programming distance with specific backgrounds or sequencing a narrative. My 2nd grade son even started using the app to study his spelling words and use them in context (more on that in an upcoming post.)
Capturing Coding with Kinder
As it is not every day that I teach kinder and utter phrases like, “1, 2, 3, Eyes on Me”, I am very grateful that Debbie Smith (@dsmitheisd) captured a few pics to commemorate the event… I have compiled those pics and added some additional Scratch Jr. resources (lessons and curriculum) as well as 30+ iOS apps for programming with students within the thinglink linked here and embedded below.
What Does an Elementary STEM Day Look Like?
If you are interested in what the other activities looked like for STEM day at Eanes Elementary… this video captures an overview of the day.
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