Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scratch - Teaching kids programming

This session was taught by Christopher Michaud from Nebo Elementary in GA.

Why teach programming to elementary students?
1) It allows students to encode and reflect on sequential and logical thought in a dynamic system.
2) It provides real application to math concepts - coordinate plain, directions, grids/arrays
3) Game making is a form of storytelling
4) Develops technological fluency

Scratch was developed by MIT to teach young students programming concepts and develop skill in multimedia communication. It is easy, fun and visual. It's object oriented so reading level doesn't really apply. And...it's free!

If you go to Christopher's site he has tutorials for practice. We practiced making a sprite perform an action. Such as...pac man eating in a maze. This took me a while, but I could see elementary kids doing this in 15 minutes! Christopher said he planned his first lesson for a 50 minute class period and the kids finished the project in 10 minutes.


dayle said...

At one time in my life, teaching programming to kids would have seemed so far fetched - but in today's world, it almost makes sense. Children are going to have to have a little schema in order to understand what's coming in their lifetime. How cool would it be to teach some programming through Math? - notice, I didn't suggest doing it through reading!! dayle

Cursillos in Christianity said...

I learned two separate programming languages in college, both of which are now ancient! This is intriguing to me. I want to learn more!

Debby Cothern said...

O.K. - I am going to need help from Haley to know where to start with this.

KK Cherney said...

Melanie, I think I will introduce this in lessons to the 4th graders for sure. It looks like to much fun. I love my job.