Monday, 20 January 2014

Computational Thinking and drag & drop programming

Session 2

We started by reviewing the last lesson since reflection is the best way to cement knowledge. Thereafter it was time to learn some new terms - computational thinking and the steps thereof. We talked about decomposing a problem, finding a pattern, abstraction and then creating an algorithm with the objective of writing a program.

The activity to describe monsters from planet Zondus using computational thinking was very interesting for the children. They loved to draw monsters based on instructions provided by a fellow participant. They even made up cool names for the monsters they designed!

After the hot chocolate and cookie break, it was time to make the artist draw different shapes. Not only did the children learn the concept of pixels and moving some degrees, they also learnt about conditions and repeat blocks. The final level was to design a shape and the child who was able to program that earned a chocolate treat to share with the rest of the class!

One of the children described an incident he had in real-life which he solved using computational thinking. He went to the supermarket and tried to enter via the automatic sensor door that opens when someone gets close enough. For some reason, it was not working. The store representative, tried several things including pushing the door with his hands but that did not work. Then, this 12 year old, asked his Dad to put his hand in front of the sensor while the boy pushed the door with his body weight. Voila - the door opened! He was greeted with applause by the people inside the supermarket who wanted to come out and also by those who were with him wanting to get in! In the session he explained how he used the 4 step process of computational thinking to solve this real-world problem!

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