Saturday, February 22, 2014

Game Making with Hopscotch on the iPads

We just completed the second year of our 5th grade Coding Project.  Mr. Bill Filsinger was kind enough to let me work with his class again this year to have his students learn to code using the Hopscotch app on the iPads. I brought in iPads once a week for 6 weeks and the students had an hour each time create their projects. On the last day all students presented their projects in class. Last year we guided the students a bit more by having them focus on educational games or applications that they could share younger grades.  (See last years project and student creations here) This year we left it more open and students created a variety of projects covering topics like poetry, action games, education, art and health.  Another difference this year was letting students complete the Hour of Code Hopscotch Tutorial before starting their projects.  This gave them a solid introduction to the app and let them try out some of the features.

Coding with students teaches them important skills in a subtle way.  While creating in the app, students are trying to get their characters to appear, disappear, rotate and perform other actions. They learned academic and math vocabulary through project creation, no vocabulary list!  If they wanted to make a character disappear, grow or move, then they figured out what the term meant.  This type of learning will stick with them because it was learned on their own and applied to the work they were doing. Coding is a highly motivating activity for students that teaches them math skills and perseverance. During our project, students were engaged in all of the 4C's: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication.

Students drag programming code from the left
to the workspace on the right

Link to Curriculum

Examples of vocabulary terms acquired while coding:  opacity, rotation, millisecond, x axis, y axis, scale, speed, width, percentage, angles

Examples of programming commands used while coding:  rotate degrees, move distance, repeat loops, change x by, change y by, set position, set speed, wait in milliseconds, set opacity percent

Common Core State Standards Math Practices Addressed:  CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.  CCSS.Math.Practice.MP2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

Student Project Examples

Finish line game created with Hopscotch
Screen shot of  a two-player, student created racing game to see which character makes it to the finish line first on this zig zag racing course

Peyton explains his game: Rockets

Kati explains her game: Basketball