Realistically, computer science is an encompassing study. Students should, of course, master code, commands and algorithms, but they must also gain critical thinking skills. Students must learn effective forms of collaboration, problem-solving and communication; they should understand how to present their work in layman’s terms, apply computational knowledge to offline situations and provide cross-curricular solutions.
Here’s some engaging ideas to get kids interested in computer science:
Apps provide great interactive coding solutions for kids
Most kids don’t consider themselves as tech savvy, but will give 100% effort into new curriculums if they are interested in it and, simply, having a great time. Apps are great educational tools for kids to engage with, problem-solve and learn code along the way. For example, Scratch is an amazing free, programming app that lets students can make their own animations and games. Kids can work individually or in teams to create their very own movie, using their very own code design.
Teachers can extend their lessons by sharing their students’ material. For instance, part of the activity might ask students to share their Scratch work onto Creatubbles in order to collaborate with other schools. Students could then search Creatubbles to find Scratch creations that interest them and reach out to the creators directly on the platform.
Collaborative projects encourage students to gain problem-solving skills
Collaboration is a fun way for students learn an important skill they’ll carry through life: problem-solving. Collaborative projects teach students to communicate, listen to new ideas, assess the question and come up with creative solutions. For example, a group of students may be using maker toys, such as Quirkbot to make their own robots. The group must come up with the design of the robot, what it does, how it moves and so on.
On Creatubbles, students can collaborate with other schools all around the world. Students can connect directly, in the comments section, of the platform by sending positive feedback, asking questions and collaborating. All messages are monitored by the Creatubbles team (as well as teachers and parents) to guarantee safely.
Games offer long-term, scalable projects for kids
The beauty of playing educational games is that kids learn, often, without even recognizing it. Minecraft, for example is a great educational tool for kids because it doesn’t seem like work. Kids can program their own characters, code structures or create networks to connect with friends — simply by playing the game.
Students can really exercise their creativity by using mods to improve their builds. The Creatubbles Minecraft Mod lets students insert their own creations into their Minecraft builds. So, students can have fun creating Minecraft worlds decorated with their own original work.
Offline projects give kids an important hands-on relationship with computer science
Computer science lessons should not only stay in the digital realm. There are tons of great offline activities that teachers can do with their students. What better way to learn about computers than to make one yourself? Very simple computer systems can be up and running in an hour or so. Teachers should consider their class’ skill levels and assign the respective type of build-your-own-computer project.
Taking the build-your-own-computer project one step further, teachers can run a computer fair that showcases the various types of computers that students have designed and created. If your school is short on space and resources, teachers can also share the exhibition on Creatubbles and create an open gallery for students to upload their computer creations to.
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