Code To Learn: Game Mechanics

My 3rd graders are digging deeper into programming and game design with Scratch, and this time we’re exploring game mechanics through mazes. I’ve included a 6-part Scratch activity of my own remixed from an original maze activity from the Scratch Creative Computing Curriculum Guide. The guide is great for many reasons, but one important one is that the ScratchEd team encourages remixing and sharing of the guide, under it’s Creative Commons Share-Alike license.

For the students this will be a multi-week exploration where they can learn some new programming skills, make customizations to the code and graphics, and share their work with their peers. Here’s a sample of what a final project might look like, and a downloadable copy of the Scratch activity guide handouts that I made.



Code to Learn: X/Y Coordinates

My 3rd graders began programming with Scratch a few weeks ago with the help of some introductory activities from the Scratch Creative Computing Curriculum Guide. Namely the activity titled “10 Blocks”.

Next we’ll dig into a bit of game design, specifically for learning the XY coordinate grid. We’ve often played an online game called Billy The Bug to practice coordinate grid skills, and this time I’ve created a Scratch activity where students will make their own game modeled after Billy The Bug. You can see a final version of the project and download the Scratch activity worksheet here:


Code-able Fashion Pt. 4

We’re all the way through our week of Code-able Fashion! Today was the day for final mends and stitches before our afternoon showcase. We’re so proud of the students. Lots of work done and redone to get to the finish line. Enjoy this slideshow that the students made of their work this week:

Code-able Fashion Pt. 3

As designers it’s important to make time to reflect and share your progress and your challenges. Sharing with your peers will boost your confidence, when you receive some kind words and compliments on your progress. Sharing with your peers will remind you that you’re not struggling alone, when you hear empathetic “me-toos” as you express your frustration over challenges. Sharing with your peers will also help you think more deeply as it requires you to pause and reflect on your decisions, and because the group always has questions and feedback about your process and your decisions.  


Code-able Fashion Pt. 2

We’re 3 days into our e-textiles short course, Code-able Fashion, and we’re all learning a lot, kids and adults! A few quick notes I’ve taken as we progress:

  • We could have a whole IPW project just on sewing and “stitch-craft” (nevermind the programming!)
  • We could have a whole IPW project just on programming wearables (nevermind the sewing!)
  • Differentiating is even harder when your students are a mixed-age group from 8-12
  • Sharing the work of pioneers like Maddy Maxey, Limor Fried, Leah Buechley is a great way to start off each work day with kids!
  • Embroidery hoops are AMAZING!
  • The boys in the group (only 2?!) love the work, but they suggest naming the course “Code-able Clothing” in the future, because they feel the word ‘fashion’ scared off many other boys for some reason.

Code-able Fashion Pt. 1

Integrated Projects Week is here again and this time I’m partnering with K-2 Ed Tech Gina Marcel to execute of week devoted to wearable technology that we are calling ‘Codeable Fashion’. Here’s our course description:

We’re going to combine the worlds of fashion and computer programming by exploring cutting-edge wearable electronics in this IPW. You’ll learn how to remix a piece of your own clothing by sewing in tiny computers with soft circuits. Then you’ll add sensors or lights that you can program yourself.

Let’s take fashion and technology to the next level. It’s time to hack your hoodie, program your party dress, and code your clothes!

We thought to create this short course because we read so many student suggestions requesting both fashion and programming projects. The decision to make it a mashup of the two is really exciting for us with all the e-textiles work that Gina has done and the programming work that I have experience with.

Me tinkering with some wearable electronics.

Me tinkering with some wearable electronics.

My layout for a LED knit cap.

My layout for a LED knit cap.