Kodable Road Tour: Day 1

Today, we kicked off the first leg of our Kodable Road Tour in Maryland and got off to an AWESOME start!

After beginning our journey eastward on Sunday at 4am local time in San Francisco…

Kodable Road Tour San Francisco
Those are some sleepy faces!

…we arrived in Baltimore ready to rock and roll. It was time to begin teaching some programming!

First Stop

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland where we talked about loops and binary – and just how many planets the fuzzes should definitely visit!

Lots of collaboration with pair programming!

What we learned: The versatility of going screen free
I’ve always loved the Fuzz Family Frenzy, because it’s simple to explain and a LOT of fun. However, today it was even better. We took the activity a step further and created our own commands as a class to define exactly how many degrees our robot (Neal Rooney) should turn and how high it should jump.

We also talked about how the code gets redundant when you have to repeat “left foot, right foot”. That spurred a great lesson about how loops work and how they’re key to more efficient coding. I’ll definitely be adding that lesson to my tool belt. 🙂

Fuzz Family Frenzy using loops
Here you can see some of our code using loops. (and instructions to jump 2 feet!)

What’s happening in the future: Debi Krulak (@MrsKatBL) plans to integrate coding into more lesson plans as the lower school media specialist. She says knowing where everyone is at with in Kodable helps to know when to stop and spend more time talking about a concept. She had a great idea to use screen free activities as a way to asses how well students are able to apply the lessons they learn in another scenario.

Favorite moment: A comical and adorable conversation about how computers can’t understand sarcasm.

Next, we headed down to Annapolis for our second stop of the day!

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Second Stop

St. Martin’s In-The-Field Episcopal School, where we learned about the great Grace Hopper and that testing our code can prevent bugs.

Team debugging!
A deep discussion involving bugs and testing.

What we learned: Kids understand much more than we think they do

Neal and I talked to a group of first and second graders and then a group of third and fourth graders. It was interesting to see the older students grasp the concepts of sequential thinking and giving a computer commands really quickly.

The extra time gave us the opportunity to try something new and talk about concepts like variables and functions. We presented the new ideas in a simple and easy to digest way: modifying the class’s original Fuzz Family Frenzy code. We added specifics like degrees of a turn, length of our steps, an height of our jumps. We also discussed how that program could be assigned as a function and used again later by calling on the name we gave it.

We had a lot of fun with these brilliant first graders!

What’s happening in the future: Karen White and other teachers at her school are starting an iLab! She’s a firm believer in the power of playing to learn and wants her students to get their hands dirty working with a variety of new technologies.

Favorite moment: Seeing the power of Kodable as a break from testing, and getting to be the run-away robot when we had a bug in our Fuzz Family Frenzy code.

BONUS: We enjoyed a bit of down time at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Wow! It definitely made me a proud American.

Grechen
Boat selfie 😀
Neal
Look! More boats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day down and another to go! Thank you to both schools for your kindness and hospitality. We’re loving every minute so far and we can’t wait to see more schools!

Also, don’t forget to join the fun and support the Kodable Road Tour! Check out the neat T-Shirts we created just for the trip!

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

 

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