Dear friends,
I'm happy to share with you the activity that I made during a summer camp in Peerugia, with VERY YOUNG CODERS: a group of 10/15 children, 7/9 y.o. (mostrly 7 y.o.).

I was involved as tech educator to make the kids experience a coding path during the summer camp promoted by the company of their parents.

 

Due the age (from 7 to 9 y.o.) they weren't into coding at all. So I started with CODING UNPLUGGED activities. We started using checkered papers first and playing on a grid on the ground later: we started understanding coding without using devices but simply playing with concepts and stuff.

Coding Unplugged with papers and pencilsCoding Unplugged pretending to be robots

 

After that I proposed an activity with tablets, by animating stories with Sctatch Jr.

 

 

Now kids where more comfortable with concepts like instructions, loops, conditions and so on. So I could pass to laptop computers and Scratch. They created a little videogame. And this was the firs time that most of them used a computer to do something like that (or the first time that someone of them used a computer at all).

 

After the experience with Scratch we dedicated a day to MICRO:BIT.

 

I installed the offline version of the software on the computers (because the Internet connection was not stable enough) but on an old Mac and an old Windows PC we used the website version.

MicroBit activity with children 7 y.o.The micro:bit card, programmed by two children

 

I started teaching and experiencing the basics of coding with the Make Code editor and seeing the result on the emulator.

 

You can imagine the wonder when I pulled out the micro:bit card and I attached to my computer, showing the effect of the code on the real card. Kids were very impressed too when I gave a card to every couple of them. We followed the path proposed by the tutorials on the website. "Flashing heart", "Name tag", "Smiley button"... we did our experience step by step. And after they tested the code on the card connected to the computer, I increased their wonder by giving them batteries.

 

They took their time to experience possibilities, mixing code to create something new...

 

 

As you can see, the activity was nothing special from the educator side. I trusted the suggestion by micro:bit and the progression of the activities was good to start learning and experiencing micro:bit.


What I didn't knew, before to experiencing it, was that you can make coding activities with micro:bit also with small children with no previous experience in coding. If you build a path that brings them understanding basics of coding and you add every time a little step, they are able to understand all they need to program cards like micro:bit and have a lot of fun.

For sure it was a very demanding activity. After doing that they were happy but very tired and they felt on the couch, waiting for the lunch!

 

:-)

 

Thanks to element14 we had the opportunity to open the way to coding to new young programmers that now will be curious and will try to go ahead, following the meetings of the local CoderDojo.