Before-School Coding and Robotics
Introducing Coding at Willetton Primary School in 2018: Code Orange & Code Blue
In 2018, a significant focus has been placed on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) at Willetton. As part of this focus, it has been my absolute pleasure to be a part of the before school coding programs ‘Code Orange’ and ‘Code Blue’.
At the beginning of Term 1, an expression of interest was sent out to year 3 & 4 students by Mr Wegner and I offering 25 spots in a weekly before school coding program in Term 2 focussing on the basic of Scratch. I was completely blown away when in the space of less than a week, over 70 notes had been returned! Due to the high demand, we were able to offer two sessions catering for 50 students (and everyone else was placed on a waiting list). These first Code Orange students spent the term exploring Scratch and learning to code by making their own version of Pong (and even learnt how to make a joypad out of a Makey-Makey and a banana!).
In Term 3, our foundation coders moved into robotics and were introduce to Dash, Dot and Sphero (and there were some very competitive maze building competitions and Sphero bocce games!) while a third session was offered for students on the waiting list who begun with the Scratch curriculum. This term also saw Miss Patching, Miss Swanson and Mrs Gavranich join the team and offer two before school sessions for pre-primary and year 1 students (and trust me, there was overwhelming interest once again). These students were introduced to robotics in the form of Bee-Bots and Blu-Bots.
Finally, in term 4, all Code Orange students have moved into more advanced coding using Scratch (a few students have produced their own Scratch plays and Frogger games) while a new group of PP/1 students have been introduced to robotics. All up, we have had over 120 students participate in the coding program (that’s over a fifth of the school!) and I could not be prouder of each and every one of them. They have all shown tremendous dedication and responsibility, arriving at school by 7:45am each session, the creativity and speed at which they have picked up coding has blown me away (and their classroom teachers who keep telling me how well they are transferring their knowledge into their class work).
I also wish to personally thank the amazing staff who have generously donated their time and expertise as coaches for Code Orange & Blue in 2018. Mr Wegner, Miss Patching, Miss Swanson and Mrs Gavranich have given up many mornings (and sleep ins) and braved the cold, wet and dark to facilitate sessions and without this passion and dedication, the program could not have happened. I know every participant in the program appreciates what have you done.
Code Orange 2019
In preparation for 2019, I would like to determine the interest level of parents and students for Code Orange in 2019. If you could take a few minutes to complete this survey (a can also be found on the schools Connect Notices) it would be greatly appreciated. It is important that as many people as possible complete this as the information gathered will help determine if Code Orange is offered next year and for what year levels.