Here’s at iCompute Headquarters there’s nothing we like more than creating Christmas 🎄 themed resources. I’ve been having a great time designing and developing new lesson plans, tutorials and programs for this year’s festive season.
My latest offering is an absolute Christmas cracker 🎉! A coding tutorial for Microsoft Kodu. Kodu is helping Santa 🎅🏻 deliver presents on Christmas Eve but needs your pupil’s help coding him to deliver the presents 🎁 to the right houses. I’ve made a Kodu tutorial for your pupils to use that will guide them through the coding process before letting them get on with completing the activity and then having some festive fun by making it their own.
Get the lesson plan & tutorial
Another free Christmas computing resource helps your pupils get jolly 🎅🏻 good at problem solving using key computational thinking skills such as abstraction, decomposition, generalisation and pattern spotting.
Computational thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing and our best selling (ERA and BETT nominated) schemes of work support schools teach it creatively and well.
Grab yourself a gift 🎁 with our free stuff for Christmas. Visit www.icompute-uk.com for more free Christmas themed lesson plans and resources to support teaching primary computing.
Not long to go now for the Hour of Code 2018 (December 3rd – 9th) and we can’t wait to see how many pupils and schools participate around the world.
iCompute are delighted to partner with code.org again this year by providing lots of fun, creative, activities for schools to use as part of this event and throughout the year. We’ve put together, free, Christmas themed lessons and lots more, including coding apps, sending secret messages with Morse Code, animating a snowman and saving Santa! Included are detailed step-by-step lesson plans with built in differentiation and creative ideas for extension and enrichment.
The Hour of Code™ is a global movement and worldwide effort to celebrate computer science. Organised by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org it reaches tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.
In England, children have a statutory entitlement to a computer science education from the age of five. iCompute provides full coverage for the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
Each year, iCompute offer free computing lesson plans and computing resources to support the Hour of Code™ and help raise awareness of and engagement in computing science around the world.
We really hope you join us this year for The Hour of Code and introduce your pupils to the joy of creative computing!
Scarily 👻 Good Free Resources for Primary Computing
Help your pupils get dead ⚰️ good at problem solving using key computational thinking skills such as abstraction, decomposition, generalisation and pattern spotting with our free Halloween themed puzzles.
Computational thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing and our best selling (Educational Resources Awards nominated) series of Computational Thinking Puzzle books 1-4 help pupils independently practice the skills they learn in their computing lessons.
Grab yourself a treat 🍬 with our free puzzles for Halloween. Visit www.icompute-uk.com for more free themed lesson plans and resources to support teaching primary computing.
Teachers and pupils alike love a themed lesson so I’ve created a new activity for Halloween computing that teaches basic HTML/CSS for pupils aged 9-11.
Each term, I create free themed computing lessons and I’ve written another step-by-step lesson plan and some teacher/pupil computing resources that I’m using in my computing classes and have added to iCompute’s primary computing schemes of work. This activity has been adapted from a cross-curricular computing lesson in iCompute Across the Curriculum.
Halloween is approaching and you’re having a party! Using basic HTML and CSS your pupils will create an invitation to their party in the form of a web page. In this activity children learn how HTML formats web content and CSS styles it using age-appropriate syntax and tools.
Includes HTML tutorial
Ideas for differentiation, extension and enrichment are included in the lesson plan. Plus HTML Mozilla Thimble tutorial for teacher and pupil support. Lots of opportunities to be inspired and get creative!
I’m writing new units for iCompute’s whole-school primary computing scheme of work. I’ve started with EYFS (children aged 3-5) and decided to make a variation of the popular Pokémon Go game. Using an Augmented Reality app – HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) – the children engage in a scavenger hunt for aliens hidden around the school.
I had great fun creating the augmented reality lesson plans and colourful alien resources.
For teachers, I’ve written a HR Reveal teacher guide. Please feel free to download and use in your own classroom to blend the real world and the virtual world and see images come to life!
Regular readers of this blog will know that I teach primary computing and have recently added a Primary Robotics scheme of work to iCompute. Part of this scheme involves working with Sphero and programming the robotic balls using Sphero Edu. To help avoid repetitive strain injury by double tapping each block to find out what each command does, I’ve produced this handy Sphero Commands Helpsheet. Now updated to include the new look Scratch blocks.
Download to get rolling with Sphero and Sphero Edu.
Since the introduction to National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in England 2014, it has been a child’s statutory entitlement to a computing education from the age of 5. There have been many challenges along the way since 2014 for primary teachers, not least, due to the subject being introduced throughout schools where the vast majority of teachers had never been trained to teach it.
Despite a number initiatives to improve teacher subject knowledge, notably driven by Computing At Schools (CAS) and the Network of Excellence (a grass-roots organisation I represent as a Computer Science Master Teacher) the Computing Education Project Report (The Royal Society, 2017) – exploring the issues facing computing in schools – concludes that computing education across the UK is ‘patchy and fragile’. There is much to address in a system where many teachers do not feel confident teaching the subject and are in need of significant support.
Coding Apps with a Text-based Programming Language
Free Lesson Plan & Resources
It’s a great stepping stone from the blocks-based languages and environments your pupils may have already mastered (Eg. Scratch, App Inventor, Tynker etc) on to text-based languages.
This post follows on from a previous post detailing my experiences of teaching primary computing, coding with Sphero 2.0. Following the successful loan of Sphero 2.0 from Lancaster University as part of my role as a Computing at Schools Primary Computer Science Master Teacher, my school bought a class set of Sphero SPRK+ to support teaching primary computing and use elsewhere across the curriculum.
Sphero SPRK+ is certainly more stable than Sphero 2.0. Because they are equipped with Bluetooth SMART technology they are much easier to connect to devices and, thankfully, don’t require any of pairing and labelling that I needed to do with Sphero 2.0 for classroom management. Here, connections are made between your device and the robot simply by tapping them together. That said, do check your devices are compatible with SPRK+ as they need Bluetooth 4.0 LE to work. I found out only seven of our iPads at school work with my new set. Luckily, we only have six Sphero but it could have been a very costly mistake!
Sphero SPRK+ has lights, sound and voice. I made links to the work we had been doing in cryptography (iCompute, Year 5, iCrypto) studying Morse Code by using Sphero’s strobe blocks to flash lights representing the dits and dahs of letters in secret messages (changing colours between letters to make decoding easier). For the solutions, the children then added speak blocks after each sequence of Morse code, which said verbally what the letters were.
Another great feature of the Sphero Edu app is being able to easily see (and export to other apps) Sphero’s live sensory data. This is brilliant for cross curricular work, particularly maths and science. Sphero is packed with sensors — gyroscope, accelerometer, location, etc… Pupils can see the real time value of sensors within Sphero Edu with visual graphs. If you throw Sphero like a ball, pupils will see the accelerometer data rise and fall. Similarly, when they construct a maze, they can use the data to track location, distance, and speed.
Click to download
Last, but not least, Sphero Edu with Sphero SPRK+ includes a Program Cam feature which allows pupils to take a videos or images of programs while they’re running. Pupils can narrate what they’re created, demonstrate their learning (and ultimately mastery) and share their work with a wider audience.
Pupils naturally love working with Sphero, they think they’re playing. Under the guise of play, they’re actually learning invaluable programming skills alongside learning about everything from physics to art! That’s learning at its best. The SPRK+ edition, combined with the Sphero Edu app, brings so much more to the table to support teaching and learning – particularly in STEM subjects. They’re expensive but with the right blend planning and imaginative resources, using Sphero SPRK+ in your school can extend to all areas of the curriculum.
Ready to roll? The possibilities are exciting!
Our school purchased six Sphero SPRK+ at full price. I have produced lesson plans and resources for iCompute that use Sphero 2.0 and Sphero SPRK+ but am in no way affiliated with Sphero Inc.
Visit iCompute to find out more about primary robotics
Not long until Easter and I’m sure you’ll have lots planned for it in other subjects, but don’t forget about Computing. It’s a great end-of-term opportunity for your pupils to demonstrate what they can do with Scratch programming.
Click to download the plan and resources
I’ve prepared a step-by-step lesson plan and some teacher/pupil computing resources that I’m using and have added to iCompute to celebrate Easter and/or Spring. Feel free to download and use in your own classroom.
It’s Easter and the Easter Bunny has forgotten where she has hidden all of her eggs. Challenge your pupils to create algorithms and program the bunny to get all of her eggs in her basket any way they know.
Pupil Support Card
As usual, lots of opportunities for differentiation. For instance, less able pupils could use pupil support cards (see Egg Hunt card which is included in the pack) and/or write a more simple collecting less eggs. Your more able pupils could:
program the ice-cream truck sprite to move across the x-axis
program the hot-air balloon to fly
add the Easter eggs to a list variable when collected
add ‘enemies’ to thwart the Easter Bunny in her quest
add extra, increasingly difficult, levels (e.g. mazes to navigate)
Ideas for differentiation, extension and enrichment are included in the lesson plan. Lots of opportunities to be inspired and get creative.