Prior to arriving in the library, Mrs. LoBianco shared many different videos outlining what STEM careers are and the skills needed to enter the field. Students paid special attention to the 21st Century Skills needed to be successful in today's job market. Some of these skills included showing independent initiative, learning from mistakes, demonstrating originality, and keeping an open mind.
On day one of coding in the library, students were reintroduced to the concept of 21st Century Skills. They were then given the opportunity to hone these skills by participating in coding activities on Kodable, a coding app for iPad. Kodable allows students to learn coding skills and directionality by navigating "fuzz balls" through various mazes. As the levels progress, the coding skills needed get more complex. The only guideline that students were given is that they were not able to ask adults for help. If they were stuck on a level, their options were to work through it or ask a classmate for help.
|Students found a comfortable spot to work on Kodable.|
|Some students chose to work together as a large group.|
Students completed a short reflection based on their experience. We were curious to hear what students enjoyed about Kodable, what they found to be difficult, and their top three 21st Century Skills used during Kodable time.
|This student believes using a variety of techniques is important for coding.|
|This student was creative and thought of many different ideas to tackle the coding challenge.|
For a blind student in the class, Kodable was not going to be a great option. Instead, he was able to use homemade arrows (made from rulers and popsicle sticks). With the help of his teaching assistant, they used the arrows to create coding sequences for navigating to different points in the library. He says that coding involves good listening skills.
|Homemade arrows for physical coding.|
|A reflection for the physical coding activity. Concentration and good listening were key!|
As an additional challenge, we had Bee Bot mats set at an increasing level of difficulty. The first mat contained a start square and a stop square without any other obstacles. For students looking for a more difficult task, we introduced the lava mat. There were numerous squares which contained "lava" - it was necessary to program the Bee Bot to avoid all of the lava squares.
Before students could test their hand at the Bee Bots, they first needed to record their coding sequences. Here is an example of two different coding sequences through the lava mat:
|Two different coding sequences.|
|Programming the coding sequence into the Bee Bot.|
|The Bee Bot avoids the lava squares!|
|This student shared that there are many job openings for people that know how to code.|
|This student shares that perseverance is the key to coding!|