Semester 2 – Seminar 2
Key Stage 2 Computing Curriculum
During this weeks session we investigated coding at Key Stage 2 level.We were asked to research into 3 different interactive resources; Hour of Code, Purple Mash and Tizzy’s First Tools.
1.) Hour of Code – https://uk.code.org/learn
Hour of Code was the first website resource I played with, I thought the website was great and easy to navigate. The website offers different versions of coding, such as; Star Wars, Minecraft, Flappy bird etc. I used the Frozen themed game, using the characters Anna and Elsa. There was 20 stages of puzzles, starting off easy and getting slightly more difficult each time. At each stage you are given a pattern for which Anna or Elsa have to run, your job is to put in the correct instructions using the options available on the left hand side of the screen. You then click and drag the chosen instructions to complete a sequence of Anna or Else to ‘run’. It is okay if children do not achieve the correct sequence first time, as the game gives hints and tips to help aid learning and let children have another go before moving on to a harder puzzle. So allowing the children to debug their algorithms, and create a new set of instructions. As the puzzles get harder the instructions used become more difficult, so including a repeat action or turning to a certain amount of degrees, instead of just turning left or right. As shown below in my screen shots of the puzzles I completed.
Once you have completed the 20 puzzles you are rewarded with a Hour of Code certificate. I thought this was a great idea as it gave the lesson a purpose and a reward, and I think children would enjoy receiving this and editing it to personalize it with their name.
After the whole class had finished the Hour of Code we came together to discuss the role of the teacher within this activity. I received help from my lecturer during this activity, as I got confused about how to use the repeat action correctly. The lecturer said he was modeling the way we would have to be with the children. So he asked me questions and guided me to come up with the right answer so I understood what I was needing to achieve. In school experience you will do this by going around the room seeing if children are struggling and if so, discuss the problems they are having so you are able to scaffold their learning.
2.) Purple Mash – https://www.purplemash.com/login/
The second website we researched into was Purple Mash. Purple Mash is a great website which offers a wide range of coding activities and games for children to complete. One of the activities I tried is pictured below, it was called 2GO. I found this game fun to use and easy to understand all the tools on it. I liked the fact you can choose your own background, as this gives children a personal choice on what they would prefer to use. It was simple to use; using arrows to turn left or right or to move forward or backwards. Overall this website had very simple, easy to use coding activities!
3.) Tizzy’s First Tools
Tizzy’s First Tools was a program we used which was downloaded onto the University computers, so if it was to be used in schools you would have to check they have it downloaded or download it yourself (with permission). Tizzy’s First Tools was very similar to Purple Mash using arrows to instruct the turtle, but it also used numbers. The use of the numbers were to represent how far the turtle would move, or how many degrees it would turn, adding a sightly higher ability to use the tool.
All of these websites, games and activities are helping Key Stage 2 children learn how to use coding, algorithms, debugging and decomposition. But sometimes the teachers are lacking in confidence or experience in these areas.
This website, BBC Bite Size KS2 Computer Science, is great for both children and teachers. It breaks down the concepts within the Key Stage 2 computing curriculum to help aid learning. It uses videos, information and images to help children and teachers gain a clearer understand of the computing curriculum.