Fall SAVY 2017, Day 3- Intro to Programming: Coding 101 (1st/2nd)
Dear SAVY Parents,
What a joy it was to work with your child today! It was amazing to see them work so hard, solve problems, and learn new skills! Programmers have to have collaborative and communications skills, as well as curiosity and persistence. Your child experienced all this and more today through robots and coding!
The Spheros SPRK lessons were exciting and challenging today. Students worked in pairs, exchanging between navigator and driver roles, to program their devices to make basic shapes of circles, squares, and complex multi-colored star patterns. Next, they worked to write letters of the alphabet. This brought about discussions involving strategy and adaptation. We observed that pencils can be moved freely, but only “activate” when pressed to a surface such as paper. However, our Spheros were more challenging to use in drawing letters. We could move it in letter formation patterns and display letters by activating the light function, however we still had to adapt some letter formation for practicality and readability. What letters are more difficult to write with our Spheros and why? What elements of the interface system are we using with Spheros? Where exactly does computer meet and exchange information with humans when using iPads and Spheros? What problems can we solve with this unique letter writing process? Mrs. Byrd imagined an emergency scenario where she had to send a message by Shpero from Mars to NASA! The students helped to decode the message. Next week, we will use a blockly code to perfect our programming of Spheros for new and more challenging tasks.
We learned about “loops” and pair programming in the computer lab. Loops are not only useful, but powerful for efficiency in complex repetitive tasks. We initially have learned about loops through dance, music, and visual art projects, however we observed that when traffic lights cycle traffic through green, yellow, and red signals they are using loops for more practical purposes! We observed it is more efficient and safe to use carefully planned loops for lights than traffic officers for every intersection! We can maximize traffic flow and get everyone home more safely. Can you find more evidence of loops in your home routines? What other tasks or problems can be solved using computerized loops?
I shared the following creative use of a loops using Facebook Live with your child. https://youtu.be/lO9d-AJai8Q I hope you can discuss how the band imagined, calculated, and realized a unique performance using this tool. It is amazing, but not as amazing as the products I’m sure your child will be creating in the future! Enjoy, and we’ll see you next week!