TechWise Academy: First Class
September 26 marked a big day for us. We held our first class, Level 1 – Introduction to Programming, for 9-13 year olds. Most of the kids who attended came from 3rd and 4th grade with a few older joining us. We handed out shirts and got started with the Hour of Code* program.
My partner, Ryan instructed the course and walked the kids through basic principles in programming. We really stressed breaking down problems and situations into smaller pieces and encourages logical thinking. To hear the kids talk to each other and say, “This is cool” really is what encourages me about teaching them to learn code.
Learning Mixed with Fun
We plan for three hours in our courses. We want to give each child a chance to keep up and learn what’s being taught. But that’s a long time to sit through a class. Halfway through the class we provided snacks and some light-hearted games from Minute to Win It. We challenged the kids to stack cups and try to get an Oreo cookie from their foreheads to their mouths. I tried it. It’s really hard!
Amazingly, one of the kids pulled it off.
It was a great break before we went into the Scratch* portion of our program.
Cats Meowing Everywhere
We created a simple game using Scratch and provided a walkthrough to build it. The premise was simple, have the cat reach the ball, count a point, and then move the ball. Repeat.
We added some noise to the game, and the go-to noise was a cat meow. Suddenly we were barraged with cats meowing every time a mouse button was clicked. Controlled chaos made it fun.
The best part was when the kids realized they could record their own sounds, make different “costumes” for the cat, or add to the game. The final 25 minutes of class was allowing all of the children to add to their games and share with us. It was amazing! Some kids had their own sound effects. Some changed the cat to unicorns or other animals. One in particular created a moving bat that was an obstacle for the cat. If the cat got hit by the bat, you had to start over.
Overall we were impressed! We cannot wait to have our next course. Find out more about our next courses and register when available.
Thank you to the parents who signed up for the first class, and thank you to those who stuck around to learn what we’re all about. We’ve received some great feedback and are ready for the next class. Here we go.
* Many of the programs we use for the curriculum are free to use and allow accounts to be created. It’s a great way to continue to feed your child’s interest when not in class!