Many of your children, especially those in Elementary School, probably came home talking about coding and the puzzles they were solving during the “Hour of Code” events last week. “Computer Science Education week” and the “Hour of Code” initiative are designed to spark an excitement and interest in the field of computer science. The hope is that many students will go beyond an hour or week of activities to pursue careers in the field. Code.org has many resources to check out at home for budding programmers and apps like Hopscotch and Scratch begin to build concepts that easily extend into written programming languages like C++ and Java.
The ICT and Design curriculum at the FIS has opportunities for students to explore coding as well. In Middle School, we currently have Grade 6 students working through a design unit to help students and visitors find rooms in the school by following a programmable rolling ball called “Sphero”. Grade 8 students also worked with both designing a program and also building a robot that could follow competition guidelines to put their skills and vision into action. The competitions were exciting and this testing quickly showed which robots needed a redesign through the design cycle. Here is our winning group’s reflection on the unit:
In ICT, we built a LEGO Mindstorms robot for a game of Tug o’ War. We had a lot of fun coming up with ideas of how to build the robot so that we could win. We made a very heavy and sturdy design with a few vanity items added to make it heavier and to make it look cool.
We added spinning wheels that came out of the top because they looked nice, but also because whenever our robot fell over it could keep going, which it did.
We programmed it to simply move back and also programmed the spinning wheels on top and lights for vanity. All in all it was a lot of fun building it and programming it and we had a good time playing against the other robots and ultimately winning.
– Leonardo, Juan and Yi-Cheng, Grade 8 students
MS/HS Design and ICT Teacher
Director of Technology