#HourOfCode: Coding, Post-it Notes, and a lost puppet in outer space!

An hour of code for every student.

It’s National Hour of Code Week! We are beyond excited in my first grade classroom. One thing that I have noticed about coding is that it can literally bring to life any classroom target or “I can” statement that students are presented with. Our target this week: I can solve an addition problem with three addends.

e started our coding week with a serious problem. Our class puppet, Carl, has went mysteriously missing. We looked, and looked, and looked. There was no sign of Carl anywhere inside of my classroom. We even checked the playground. Then, at around 8:30 in the morning, I received this video in an email from Carl.

This is serious stuff to my first graders!

So as mentioned in the video, Carl did email us a graph with a picture of his spaceship on it. On day one, the students had to design a simple path to get to carl. I used the DoInk Green Screen app to create this video. Check out my tutorial in my previous blog post: Do Ink Green Screen App!

So it didn’t take long for the students to develop a pathway to get Carl back to his spaceship. The day was saved, right?

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-12-13-35-pmOn Tuesday morning we received another email. Fallen asteroids and unwelcomed aliens have challenged the pathway leading to the spaceship. Students then had to work around obstacles to create a path to Carl’s ship. Students were asked to make only two turns, which lead to three straight lines on the graph to get to Carl’s ship (I can solve an addition problem with three addends).

Students compared pathways to the ship on the “space floor” by using Post-it Notes to draw different pathways.

There is hidden meaning in this whole lesson that really comes to life here. As you see in the picture, the Post-it Notes change colors in every new direction. This is the three addends that are being added. This allows students to see the new starting point at the “end” of each addend.



Students worked on these pathways in groups of five. I had four different groups going at this.

Once a pathway was established, coding was then re-introduced from a previous lesson.

Students were asked to write down a code (by looking at the map) that would get them across the map while avoiding obstacles.

An example looked like this:

Go straight three spaces
Turn left
Go straight 5 spaces
Turn right
Turn right
Go straight 2 spaces

After the code was written, I took away the maps! It was up to them to test the code to see if it would get Carl back to his spaceship. Now, this would not be a good coding blog post if a cool gadget wasn’t involved. So we used the Bee-Bot Robot (Thanks Bill Stanley).

Students would then take their index card filled with code, and program it in to the Bee-Bot to see if it could survive the obstacles and get Carl to the spaceship. If the Bee-Bot survived, then the code will be mailed to Carl on the moon so he can use it to get to his spaceship and return back to his home (our classroom).

The kiddos cheered way louder than what it sounds like in the video.

As you can see we had several successful pathways discovered. The target was addressed more thoroughly than what is actually shown. Hopefully the coding technique used to develop these pathways can open pathways for my students to help foster a love for coding.

To see original story, visit Mr. Watts’ blog here. 

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