Hour of Code

This week we departed from the robots focus we have had this term to take a break and look at the heart of what makes robots do what we want them to do, the code.

The students participated in the international global movement Hour of Code™. The ‘Hour of Code™’ is an initiative by Computer Science Education Week[csedweek.org] and Code.org[code.org] to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

Whilst it may sound daunting to be coding, it can also be great fun as the students found out. So take a chance and have a go at an Hour of Code™ at home.  There is a great variety of activities designed for PC/MAC, iPad or Android, better still there are activities designed for Prep to High school. One student even challenged herself to programming in Javascript (she did a pretty good job too.)

 

 

 Some Grade 5/6 students got real hands-on with robots this week and were working together to build an Otto-Bot. It must have been pretty interesting because even Elf and his Northern Hemisphere friend had a go during the night.

 

Command, Code, Control

The Juniors have been working to read algorithms (code/instructions). The students were provided with a series of direction symbols and then the would try to figure out where their robot would end up. The ability to read and follow these simple directions to calculate the outcome is a challenge for some students…. a challenge they’re happy to try over and over again. The quick feedback they have for their accurate and inaccurate estimates helps drive them to get the correct result.

The Senior students are still working on learning the intricacies of Edison and how to control this simple looking robot. Driving forward/backward and turning may seem simple, but this students will tell you that it takes a lot of trial and error to be accurate.

Time To Drive!

The Seniors have been working very hard this week learning how to design, modify and follow simple algorithms. They are continuing to learn the wonders of Edison.

Students started by just getting their robot to drive forward/backwards to stop on a line. While it sounds like an easy task, it takes a bit of practice and repetition to hone their code to achieve their target. The students have been discussing their findings, why one robot takes a shorter/longer time than another, why the same robot can have different results. These discussions are important for the students to understand that robots are influenced by a lot more than just their code. The best part is watching/listening when they realise that the results are not consistent and they begin try to understand why that is.

How do I get there? Robots and Directions

The Junior students this week were introduced to yet another robot. This time they met Blue-Bot. Blue-bot is a great little robot that allows the students to quickly and easily code, test and reset. The Juniors were able to construct their own special target square, then they tried to code Blue-bot to stop on their square. Many of the students found this challenging at first, but by the end of the session some of them had got the hang of it. This will be a focus area for the Junior students over the coming weeks.

Build-a-bot

This week the Senior students had an opportunity to modify the Edison they worked with last week. Some students created some outrageous modifications, while others kept to more modest changes.

 

Some of the 5/6’s had the chance to test out their ability to follow instructions and competed to construct M-Bot. M-Bot has a lot of similar features to Edison, with a crucial difference. M-Bot can have a wide range of attachments connected and even an larger range of commands for coding. M-Bot utilises a modified Arduino for the brains. These robots will be utilised by the Robotics group that will be meeting during lunchtimes.

 

A few lucky 3/4 students had managed to build some last week during their electives.

What Is A Robot? 

This week the students have been learning about robots and what makes them different to computers and machines. Students used a little Australian-designed robot Edison to understand the concepts of code, inputs and outputs. 

By exploring some of the robot’s different preset instructions students tried to decipher the robots actions and explain them. 
This was defintely an important week to pair and share ideas and thoughts with a partner. 

Digital Citizenship

This week students are taking the time to look at what it means to be a Digital Citizen. This is the opportunity for them to show their digital street smarts.

The P-2’s got to learn with the help of a catchy song, whilst the 3-6’s had a chance to choose their own digital adventure complete with great and not so great choices.

The 5/6’s also reported really enjoying the very catchy song for the Juniors too.

 

The 3-6’s enjoyed traversing Digital Compass.

3D Printing

The school has been blessed with the appearance if a 3D printer. This week the students were introduced to the wonderful world of 3D printing.

Students explored the difficulties of making 3D models with one of their favourite toys, Lego. Using Lego Digital Designer the students made their own 3D models.

Game Design Document

The first step to creating a game is developing the concept. To ensure that the teams of students are on track and have a shared vision we are using a template to create our Game Design Document (GDD). There is no set standard for a GDD in the video games industry as they are often tailored to suit the task. Students have now set their teams and are beginning to write down their ideas for their games. Next week should be exciting as they will have an opportunity to commencing planning and designing their visuals in Art with Mrs. Robertson.

Screen it! – 2017

Over the coming term the senior school students will be planning, designing and creating their own computer game for submission into the ACMI Screen It competition.

The students will be working individually, or in teams of their choosing, they will be programming their games using Scratch. To assist the students with the large amount of work that will be required Mrs Robertson will also be dedicating some art lessons with the students to create their backgrounds, characters and objects that they want to use in their development.

This will be an exciting term and I look forward to seeing all the different ideas the students have to bring out the best of the competition’s theme ‘Time’.