After looking through my list of resources I wanted to review and share and considering some questions I got from peers, I thought the next thing I would write about is different coding and video game design software that I love to use in my classroom.
I know a lot of Math/Science teachers are feeling anxious about teaching coding, especially if it's something that is completely new to you or you have not done before. To that end I wanted to share two of my favourites over the next two posts and explain the different ways you can use them in your class.
Before I get in to that I want to explain why I love teaching coding and video game design and why I think it is so great to have in the classroom.
- It teaches resiliency.
- When you code, NOTHING works on the first try. Often students will have to try things multiple times before things work. They will get frustrated and learn how to push through it. They will learn that mistakes are a part of the process and how to move forward. If anyone ever wants to tell a bad coding joke in their class here is my favourite "99 problems with code on the wall, 99 problems with code! Take one down, pass it around, 126 problems with code on the wall!"
- The feedback is instant.
- If something doesn't work you will know right away. There is not waiting or worry. You are not waiting for feedback from a teacher or peer. You will also know right away if something does work!
- It teaches students how to break tasks down.
- Computers are not mind readers, they will not infer. You need to be completely clear on your code and break down every step of the process. This is a very useful life skill to have!
That being said, here is my favourite way to teach basic coding to students. It's a fantastic software called Code Combat.
Code Combat is a site where you can teach students Python, Java or C++.
In it, students can pick their own avatar and fight through dungeons using code. The levels get increasingly more complex and are surprisingly fun. I have had lots of students develop quite an addiction to solving the problems!
The other thing that makes Code Combat great? It has built in assessments! Here is a sample grade book they have that allows you to keep track of student work.
The levels themselves can get wonderfully complex for your kids that need enrichment but also are user friendly enough for any beginner.
So, if you are panicking about how to broach coding in your Math or Science class this is one resource I highly recommend trying out. It's free and is very user friendly for teachers.
For my next post I will be showing a more complex software that allows students to design their own video games.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope that you can have fun and get messy in your class with this!