At SIAL we believe an important way to help the future generations to grow, especially given how continually surrounded by digital screens their lives can be, is to teach them the basics of coding and programming. Why? Because in this way we help them develop their creativity and logical thinking, which is certainly better than letting them grow passively, simply absorbing the contents of the devices which are such a significant part of modern daily life.
Programming, also called coding, means telling a computer what to do by giving it some commands to which it responds.
CODING FOR CHILDREN
At SIAL we start teaching our students coding from KS1. The first approach to the concept of “code” or “algorithm” for our KS1 children is made through the bee bot and by giving it a list of instructions. With these programmable floor robots children can follow through an algorithm they’ve created and watch it respond step by step.
Each bee bot has four different functions that can be used to control the robot: forward, backward, turn right and turn left. Once a student has finished entering the instructions, there is a GO key to start and then the bee bot starts to move, following the instructions.
Provided you have programmed the robot correctly, it should complete the given task when run. If you have made a mistake you can use the clear key to remove all of the instructions assigned to the robot’s memory and you can start again afresh.
In the pictures above, the class was divided into two groups. The first group had to create paths on a city map and test the instructions with the bee bots.
The second group was given a card with the wrong instructions. They had to debug the instructions to find out which of the instructions were wrong and correct them.
Coding is an educational tool to learn the basics of computer programming in a practical and entertaining way.
Coding is not only about programming devices and learning how interfaces work. At primary level, it helps children to learn sequencing and decision making. It helps teach them to break down a problem in small steps and to think about how to best solve a problem, finding solutions in an original way. These are skills that children can then use for many real life activities in the future.