Have you done your Hour of Code, yet? So far, I’ve done 8.5 hours of coding this week with my students in various grade levels – with more hours to add today and tomorrow! We’ve used Scratch, Hopscotch, and a board game called Robot Turtles (which I will be describing in detail in tomorrow’s post). For more ideas for Programming for Kids, here is my Pinterest Board.
One app that we haven’t used this week is Kodable. The only reason we haven’t used it for the past few days is because we have been using it since October. I thought it might be cheating to stick with what we all know well when I have been encouraging everyone else to go outside their comfort zones!
As some of you know, I introduced programming to my 3rd-5th grade classes by using Kodable’s “Unplugged” activity, which involves making a classroom obstacle course. The students loved that, and it made the transition to the digital version of Kodable practically seamless.
There are two versions of Kodable in the App Store. The free version allows users to play the first 30 levels (Smeeborg World) for free. The Pro version (currently on sale for .99) offers full access, giving you a total of 4 Worlds. And, a special bonus, Kodable is unveiling a new Fuzz next week – Holly!
Kodable scaffolds programming skills so that young children can learn how to code. They don’t even have to know how to read. The goal is to direct a “Fuzz” through a maze by placing the correct sequence of commands and pressing “Play.” It begins very simply, and slowly increases in difficulty. As students complete certain levels, they earn new “Fuzz” characters, and can choose the ones they want to use. My personal favorite is “Shaggy Fuzz”, a brown Fuzz who makes me giggle every time he hums while he travels through the maze. I told my students to turn their volume up on the iPads just so I could hear when they were using him
One of the things that I love about Kodable is how genuinely dedicated the creators, Gretchen Huebner and Jon Mattingly, are to education. If you follow @Kodable on Twitter, you will find them involved in numerous educational Twitter chats, including the one they host, #kidscancode, every Tuesday evening at 7 PM CST. They love connecting with and getting feedback from educators, and they are also thrilled to get involved with students through Google HangOuts, Skype, or FaceTime.
Here is a short Tellagami video from some 3rd graders in Van Meter, IA, about Kodable.
- Check out Kodable’s Free Learning Guides
- Kids can design their own Fuzz. See this great example!
- Try having students draw their own mazes, and challenge each other to solve.
- Have students create actual mazes, like the picture below!