Home #Makerspace: Two Tools to Teach #CompSci & #Coding to #MakerEd Youngsters

The last five years have seen an explosion in Maker Edu-themed products geared for the younger set.  Young kids make enthusiastic makers.  They love challenging puzzles, approachable crafts and as long as you put flames on it, they think everything you do is amazing!  What’s not to love about teaching the pre-K through 3rd grade set?

Little makers also need encouragement, support and developmentally-appropriate materials to be successful.  Many of us think Makers means 3D printers, microcontrollers and fancy toys.  Young makers will feel left out (though amazed) at all those cool gizmos and flashy parts because the concepts, skills and tools are all too complex.  Instead, we can broaden our definition of making (to include art, crafts, woodworking, cooking and more) while developing technology tools that teach at their level.  Technology tools can empower our children through exploration and discovery. 

Robot Turtles and the BeeBot/BlueBot are two MakerEd platforms you can use to promote foundational computer science concepts and coding skills to the very young learners. 

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This Week in the Classroom: Computer Science & Electronics

The Fall 2011 semester came to an end last week.   I’m taking stock of what-used-to-be (my previous semesters classes) and re-tooling, re-gearing and re-searching my way into new course-load.

I’d like to start with my Computer Science & Electronics course.  I described this course as:

This course introduces computer programming to students with little or no prior programming or technology experience. Students will use Alice, 3D graphical computer language, to introduce basic computer science theory. Topics to be covered include program design and problem solving, Boolean operators, logic statements, loops and flowcharts. Unlike other languages, Alice lends itself to an exploration of thought, rather than an exercise in coding or mathematical ability. If time allows, the Python language will also be explored.  In the electronics portion, students will explore basic electronic concepts of resistance, current and voltage.  Students will learn to build, manipulate and understand basic circuits & operate the tools necessary to create these circuits.  Students will identify basic parts, such as resistors, switches, wires and capacitors.

So, let’s go over the class and see how I did and what I will do better in the future.

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