This event was a bit different to previous events held in Christchurch. The focus was more on Technology and cool things we can do in the digital space compared with looking at programming and Computer Science.
The sessions on robotics and using board games to teach programming concepts were particularly useful.
In the robotics session we created a maze and then programmed robots so that they achieved a specified goal. It was good to see that setting up a maze can be as simple as putting tape on the floor with an obstacle or two in the way. This is something that could be used to engage a junior class. One nice thing about the activity is that all the ‘hard’ code was provided which frees kids up to think about how to make their program do what it needs to do.
The provided code has been extensively commented which means it is easy to differentiate this activity and encourage students to try more sophisticated programming if they are ready.
The other really useful activity involved getting students to set up a simple board game where there were two counters (one for the player and one for the AI). Students then write down a series of instructions (functions) and players can choose to run one of those functions for their turn. The AI will always run through a specified sequence. The nice thing about this activity is that it is completely unplugged, hands on and co-operative. It is a brilliant way to get kids thinking about sequencing and algorithms.
Time Commitment: 2 full days