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LFI Super Coders Class Activities

LFI Super Coders Program

What do we do in the group?  It’s a busy hour!

THE AIM is have a fun and positive learning experience, where the children can learn coding and enjoy using the computer, by making their own games and playing together on the network. 

They have to learn some Maths making their sprites move around and hopefully this coding programme will encourage them to enjoy science at a broader level.

There is a variety of  activities for them to choose from so that the children can work together or at their own pace as it suits them and there are lots of stickers, certificates and prizes to recognize all the skills they are learning and games they create. 

This Year’s Project — Astro-Pi – Space Adventure!  Coding with Python  

This year we are flying high to space!  The European Space Agency and Raspberry Foundation are running a competition to encourage coding and scientific investigations using the Pis and ‘sense hats’.   We are entering this international competition for primary schools  to code a message using Python on the Pis to run on LED lights on a ‘sense hat’ attached to the raspberry pi that will be read by astronauts on their Raspberry Pi on a space shuttle orbiting earth!  I can’t wait for Mission Zero .

Last year we did some preparation using the sense hats and some older students had great fun coding in Python the LED lights to create a moving figure in lights, below.

   

What is a The Raspberry Pi?

 This mini computer has been designed a few years ago in the UK for children learning coding and comes pre-loaded with lots of fun programs.

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What is done at the various LEVELS? (more details below) 

There are various courses for the children to work through at their own pace, depending on their level of skills

They will be working their way through several online programs, Scratch programming, code.org, raspberrypi.org/projects, BBC touch typing for children and more.

As a parent what you can do

The children are very proud of working with their parents and we hear a lot about their creations together in class.  After completing the initial paper based set of Scratch skills they will be creating logins to various courses:

login to Scratch

Code.org

BBC Touch Typing for Children 

MORE DETAILS OF THE ONLINE PROGRAMMES / RESOURCES BELOW

1  Beginner Level – Scratch

What is the Scratch Program?

 Scratch is the main program used and with it your child can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share the creations with others in the online community.  27 million projects have already been shared globally.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

 Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the prestigious MIT Media Lab.

Scratch Skills Card Sheet 

Using Scratch 2 on their Pi the children work through the card and learn how to make their various cartoon ‘ sprites’ / characters move in 12 different ways

 

As they complete each of the 12 skills, they get a sticker on their card.  On completion of the 12 skills, they get their first certificate. 

 

 

 

Code.org

This is an online professional site with programming skills for 6 years upwards. It teaches real beginners how to click and drag, and various skills like looping, with fashionable games like Star Wars.  Each student has their own login, where their work is recorded.

On completion of 500 lines of code they get a certificate presented to them in class.

2 Intermediate Level 

Scratch Games & Code.org

  • They can start making games in Scratch, putting together the 12 skills they have learnt by copying the coding from game sheets.
  • Then they start making their own games using their new skills, incorporating a few items stipulated like a variable and a score.

Python programming 

Sense Hat: They can learn how to write some code to make their ‘sense hat’ light up.

Minecraft can be tweeked using Python, much to the delight of the children who love Minecraft.

Other Skills learnt:

Maths

They have to learn some maths to plot the position of their animations and make them move:

  • X, Y axis and coordinates
  • angles … move 90 degrees south
  • Compass directions (north, south, east and west).

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OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES

Binary Bracelets

Bracelets made for a loved one or themselves using 2 different coloured glass beads to spell out their name

 

Astronomy

There are some short stunning YouTube videos  with beautiful photos of nebulae and galaxies courtesy of the Hubble telescope, which I hope  encourages a wider interest in science.

 

Touch Typing

Many are enjoying practicing their touch typing using the popular award winning BBC Dance Mat. They get a certificate on completion of the 12 levels of the 4 stages.

 

There’s a big difference in the keyboard skills of those that do this course and those that don’t.

Sonic Pi – electronic music

This electronic music system comes free with the Pi, and some children have a lot of fun making tunes using this.

 

 

Minecraft Pi Version

Techie Stuff –

  • upgrading the Raspian Operating System,
  • customising their Pi
  • trouble shooting computers assembly.

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How is the class time  structured? 

1   The first 15 minutes we assemble the Raspberry Pis.

  • This gives the children the chance to learn about the hardware, and how to trouble shoot any of their technical problems …

For the next 30 minutes the children work through various activity sheets of different levels.

  • They get a sticker on completion of each activity, and a certificate on completion of the sheet.
  • This means that they and I can see their learning progress

3   Show and tell …. the students can show their games on the projector to the class and describe how they made it.

4   The last 15 minutes is ‘Free Time’, for them to do what they like on the computer.

  • Many love playing Minecraft on the network together, building and destroying their worlds they create together. [Minecraft Pi version comes with the Raspberry Pi.]

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RESOURCES

Programs:

*** Scratch MIT

*** Code.org

*** BBC Dance Mat – Touch Typing

** Sonic Pi – electronic music

*** Pi version of Minecraft

*** Raspberry Pi.org

Raspberry Pi Projects

Books

*** 20 Games to Create with Scratch by Max Wainewright

* Code Your Own Space Adventure by Max Wainewright (a bit wordy, students say)

* Minecraft Medieval Fortesses by Mojang AJ

 

 

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