Programming Lab: Elementary Lab
The Elementary lab is for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students who are interested in technology and want to try programming and making games. Perhaps they have already tried Scratch and aren't sure what to do next, or attended a Robotics camp and enjoyed it. Either way this lab is a great place to start.
In this lab, students make games, stories, and digital art projects. While creating with Scratch, students are learning coding concepts including loops, conditional statements, variables, event handling, boolean logic, random numbers, and more. These are universal concepts and the kids will see them again as they learn additional programming languages.
In addition to individual projects, this lab includes group activities to get the students working together and helping each other out. What if there is a bug in a program? Can you fix it? What happens when you receive code from another team and have to figure it out? What happens when you change it and then pass the project along to another student? These activities have been an enjoyable part of our labs and are a hit with students of all ages. This is the difference between learning in class with our instructors or simply doing online tutorials.
Scratch was created by MIT Media Lab and designed to be intuitive and easily learned by kids who have no programming experience. Students drag pieces of code and snap them together like building blocks to see what happens. They actually create a game in the first lab and once this happens, they are hooked and want to keep learning. Scratch encourages users to Imagine, Program, and Share. Students share their creations and also see what other kids have done. It is amazing to see. They can even download and open other interesting projects in Scratch to see how they work and then change them however they like. Understanding and modifying existing code is how most programming happens and this is a fun introduction to doing so. With our help they can extend the projects in any number of ways.
Scratch has been very well received in our labs and the students love working with it. They experience early success by manipulating code, graphics, and sounds quickly. Students are then inspired to continue to see what they can create.