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This week, our Year 5 students got to grips with computational thinking, while working on Maths and problem solving with Digital Learning Leader, Mr Kolbe.
Mr Kolbe kicked off the lesson by explaining what computational thinking actually is with an 'unplugged' example of one student acting as a guide and giving instruction to another student acting as a tourist on how to walk around the path of a square. It was a very simple but engaging way of highlighting the fact that computers don’t make assumptions like humans do, so when coding, we have to equip our programs with precise and relevant instructions to the task at hand.
Before they started to code, Mr Kolbe went through some important geometry concepts and encouraging the students to explore the properties of two-dimensional shapes like polygons. The students then set about block coding using Tynker as a platform to work out how they could code the 'actor' on their screens to move around and draw.
They were then tasked with drawing a square, which wasn't quite as straightforward as they'd first anticipated. It meant devising a list of instructions and refining them in order to improve their code, as well as incorporating repeated instructions and making them efficient. Their next challenge was to duplicate their code, changing the values to draw the other polygons while recording their findings. This meant looking for patterns to help them solve the puzzle and enable the program to weave its magic.
Not only was this a great visual task that captured the art and beauty of Maths, it also tested the students’ critical thinking, analytical and risk-taking skills, forcing them to break down a complex problem into small, manageable chunks.
The class covered a number of rich mathematical concepts, setting up the students for their next block coding adventure!
Problem solving, exploring angles, geometry, measurement, space, art and coding…all part of a day’s work for our Year 5 students!