In this lesson, students practice sequential thinking. This is great brain training in the “Math Smart” arena. Logic is part of the “Math Smart” world, and your kids will enjoy learning to tell a computer what to do, then watching the results. If you don’t know Kodable, spend an hour with it as part of your lesson preparation. You’ll need an account, but Kodable offers free teacher’s accounts here: https://www.kodable.com/register?type=teacher I always use Kodable for my youngest students or students with no coding experience. No language is required, so it is brilliant with English Language Learners as well. Get busy and get started with coding and Kodable!
Understand how to use Kodable to create simple sets of instructions for the computer. With a partner, complete at least three puzzles so that the Fuzzball successfully reaches the end of the games.
Given a device and access to Kodable, each student team will successfully complete programming instructions for at least three puzzles.
Explain to the students that today they will be working on their “Math/Logic Smart” abilities. They will try a brain game that teaches children to “code.” “Coding” refers to giving a computer instructions so that the computer knows what to do. Explain that today the class will try coding with a program called “Kodable.”
Show students how to access Kodable on a desktop computer or iPad.
Demonstrate how Kodable works by taking students through a brief tutorial. Work through the first puzzle together, then they will be off and running. Give them the bulk of the period to solve Kodable problems.
Remind the children to work slowly and think carefully! When they get stuck, encourage them to solve their own problems by reviewing their work one step at a time. I ask students not to touch anyone else’s device except their own. Sometimes, a child will pass his device to a friend for the friend to fix the problem. Other times, kids are overly enthusiastic and have their fingers all over everyone else’s devices! Ask the students to keep their hands to themselves to ensure that they do their own thinking. Partner groups are fine, but don’t let one student run rampant with other students’ devices.
Watch out for those that say that Kodable is not working. I have never seen Kodable make an error. It is always the student’s thinking that is faulty!
Wrap up by asking why Kodable might be good for brains. How does Kodable force you to think step-by-step? What happens if you try to skip a step? How do you solve a problem in Kodable? Is that the same or different from solving a math problem? What do you think would happen to your brain if you kept working with Kodable and learning to solve more complex problems?
- Access to a set of iPads or computer devices, one for every two students.
- Kodable app or web site.
- Class account with Kodable set up and ready for the kids to work.
- Ability to project from the teacher’s device so that the students can learn by watching the demonstration and short explanation.
A teacher account on Kodable is free but some of lesson plans and more advances features requires a paid subscription. I find that I can introduce kids to computer coding and get them started with the free modules, so sign up, create a class, and add accounts for your kids.
Most students catch on to Kodable very quickly. The beginning challenges are very easy, so students get hooked on coding before the challenges get too difficult. They will have no trouble completing two puzzles, and most will complete many more than that.
Please check device compatibility with Kodable here: http://support.kodable.com/frequently-asked-questions/what-devices-is-kodable-compatible-with. At the moment Kodable does not support Android devices, but it is compatible with most web browsers running on PCs and on the Apple iPad devices.
I’ve written this lesson for Kodable, but any “learn to code” programs would work. A lot of good coding material does not require devices. If you’d like to get started with coding and don’t have equipment or any background knowledge, start at the Hour of Code web site found here: https://hourofcode.com/us
I have not listed AASL standards, since they do not directly apply to this lesson. However, Kodable aligns to the Common Core standards. You can find out more about standards alignment by visiting Kodable’s web site. Kodable’s web site is extensive with dozens of lesson plans, standards, and guidance for educators. If you want to introduce your kids to coding and have no experience with it, Kodable is an easy and sensible place to start.
Recommended books for this lesson:
Coding for Kids, Computer Programming, Kodable