Scratch Jr Animations & Quizzes

Our Junior Learning Community students have been busy designing and creating animations and quizzes in the Scratch Jr visual coding iPad app.

 

Year 2 Animations

Year 2 students were given a 20 x 15 grid on which to draw a background and character(s) for their animation.  They then designed an algorithm which listed the sequence of instructions needed to move one of the characters through a set path on the screen.

Students then coded their animation by dragging the Scratch coding blocks from the blocks palette to the programming area at the bottom of the screen.

Here is a video of Phoebe’s Racing Girl animation.

 

Year 3 Times Table Quizzes

Year 3 students had a more complex task, which involved branching and user input.  They designed and coded a times table quiz, where each question had 1 correct answer and 2 incorrect answers.  The characters on their screen would perform different actions depending on the answer chosen.  Students began the process by designing their screen and algorithm on paper.

They then coded their quiz using Scratch Jr coding blocks.

Here is a video of Marley’s Times Tables Quiz.

 

Australian Curriculum Links

Foundation to Year 2

ACTDIK001 – Recognise and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose

ACTDIP004 – Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems

Year 3 – 4

ACTDIP010 – Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them

ACTDIP011 – Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Green Screen Weather Reporting

Our BLC students have been learning about weather, seasons and time.

They each produced a weather report for the week by illustrating the weather for each day of the week in the form of symbols and then writing a detailed description of their forecasted weather for each day.

Students then entered our makeshift green screen studio to record their weather report.  We used the Green Screen by DoInk app to achieve this.

Students learned how the green screen technology works and were surprised to see that the image on the iPad screen was different to the plain green wall that they were sitting in front of.

 

We learnt that if the iPad ‘connects’ to the green screen it means you can see the weather map and not the green screen.  Ollie, Thomas, Scarlett

I learnt that there is such (a thing as) a green screen. Xavier

I learnt that if you wear anything green it will become see through. Naomi

 

Here are a few of our weather reports.

Katie worked out how to point at each day as she spoke, which was quite tricky because everything appeared back to front on the iPad screen.

After the students had finished recording their weather reports, they watched this video to see how a professional weather man does it.  The learnt that it is actually very similar to how they did it.

 

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Dance Robot Dance

On Saturday 24th March, seven of our students participated in the final “Dance Off” of the NAO Everybody Dance competition.  The SA state final was hosted by educational technology provider Brainary Interactive and was held in the fabulous facilities at the Adelaide City Library.  Ten teams of students were short-listed for this final and came from St Michael’s, St John’s Grammar school, Woodcroft College and Parafield Gardens R-7 School.   Our students comprised three of these teams – Thomas B, Ryan S & Will S in Team 1, Tily M & Elisha P in Team 2 and Harry H & Thomas K in Team 3.

Before the final, each team had an hour to work with a real NAO robot for the first time and they were able to test and improve their programmed dance.  Under pressure, our students showed excellent team work & problem solving skills and had to correct moves in the dance routine where the robot became unbalanced and fell over.  (Luckily, staff & the student’s parents were there to catch the robot when it fell!)  They also had time to programme the robot to flash it’s LED lights during the routine & finish with a final snazzy move.

The final Dance off was performed in front of approximately 100 family, friends & the general public and was judged by The Lady Mayoress of Adelaide Genevieve Theseira-Haese, Monica Williams from AISSA and Simon Loffler from University of SA MOD.  Each team’s dance routine was performed by the robot to the audience and the judges then scored each team a total of 20 points for Balance, Creativity, Fluidity of Movement and Musical Timing, with a bonus point for original musical composition.

The winning team was from Woodcroft College and our students were awarded a prize for the highest scoring school.  Well done students – this is a fabulous achievement and a unique experience to have been involved in.

Here is a video of our student’s entries in the final Dance Off.

Unit of Inquiry

These students were selected to enter this competition after the entire Middle Learning Community completed a Unit of Inquiry with the Central Idea Technology impacts daily life. One of the lines of inquiry that the students explored was how people express creativity through technology. In Creative Arts, students used coding and computational thinking skills, combined with imagination & creativity, to make a virtual NAO robot dance, using the Choregraphe computer programme.  They created a timeline in the programme, into which they added a music track and then manipulated & stored the robot’s head & limbs into different positions for every second of the 30 second dance.

This inquiry had students engaged in transdisciplinary learning of The Arts (Media Arts, Dance & Music), Digital Technologies, Maths & Science.

Here are some photos of the students in action, along with a video clip of Harriet & Kayla’s Choregraphe project.

 

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MakerSpace Creations

This year we have converted one of our classrooms into a MakerSpace.  Our Makerspace is a place where students can wonder, be challenged, explore and discover through a cycle of imagining, designing, creating, testing and improving.  This space provides opportunities for highlighting the many connections between Science, Technologies, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) and provides students with a relaxing, flexible place where they can “make stuff”.

During term 1 many of our Middle & Senior Learning Community students have been involved in a lunchtime Coding Club & Makers Club.  Centered around a technologies theme, students have explored pixel theory and pixel art through many mediums, including

  • Graph paper & textas
  • Wooden squares & Blu-Tack
  • PixelArt Maker iPad App
  • Tynker iPad Coding App
  • Minecraft add-ons for Tynker
  • Minecraft 3D paper craft
  • Plastic Hama Beads

Through all of these mediums, students have explored how pictures, designs, creations, digital artworks & gaming characters all consist of grids of coloured squares or circles.  They have discovered that the detail & quality of the creation increases as the number of pixels increases.  This knowledge & the associated skills will be built on in the Technologies curriculum as well as in Maths, Science & The Arts (ie digital photography).

Please enjoy our gallery of our students in action and some of their creations.

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Coding with Scratch the Cat

For the last two weeks, Year 2 & 3 students in our Junior Learning Community have been learning how to design & code their own interactive stories and games in the Scratch Jr Coding app.

The students learnt how to select or draw scenes and characters and then used visual coding blocks to write instructions for the characters.  These instructions enabled the characters to move left, right, up and down; to turn around, hop, grow, shrink, disappear, appear and speak.  By dragging and connecting the coding blocks in the correct sequence, students were able to construct a series of actions for each character and were able to send messages between characters to control the order in which the characters performed their actions.

Coding enables students to acquire knowledge & understanding of digital systems and to practice and learn processes and production skills which are part of the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum.

Here are some photos of our coders in action and a video of some of the projects.

 

Video : JLC Scratch Jr Projects

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How iPads Help Us Learn

Students at St Michael’s are developing skills and knowledge to become competent users and creators of technology.

Please watch this video where some of our Middle Learning Community students explain how they use iPads to help them with their learning in all areas of the curriculum and how they are learning specific skills in Coding & Robotics.

For more information visit our iPad Programme page.

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How to Train Your Robot

During this term, the Middle Learning Community students have been learning about robots and how to control & program them.  They have demonstrated that some are programmed by pressing buttons and some are programmed by using apps, where you can create code to control the robot.  Students built on their skills & knowledge of coding from first term and were able to see how similar coding blocks to those they used in their Tynker Shape Quiz can be used to control robots.

Sphero Robotic Balls

Several weeks were spent learning about our Sphero Robotic Balls and what they are able to do.  The students used their previous knowledge of measurement, shapes and angles and were able to code the Sphero balls to draw shapes on the floor, to draw other patterns (that they designed on graph paper), to change colour and to move in time with programmed sounds.


They discovered some differences in the way that Sphero is programmed to other floor robots such as Pro-Bot and Bee-Bot.  For example, it is more difficult to program Sphero to travel a particular distance, because instead of just entering a set distance (ie 50cm) the Sphero ‘roll’ command requires that you enter 3 things – the duration (in seconds), the speed and the direction (0% to 359%).  Students therefore learn that distance is related to speed and time.

 

Students also experimented with driving Sphero by remote control, to navigate it through obstacle courses and observe that is capable of travelling through tunnels, up ramps, through the air and around a slalom course.

 

 

Robotics Challenge

Students participated in a Robotics Challenge, where they investigated how to draw more complex shapes with Bee-Bot & Pro-Bot (including circles !!) and they programmed sphero to travel precise distances in an attempt to hit the bullseye.

Drone Demo

In our last session, students observed our Parrot Rolling Spider Mini Drone in action.  Students were asked what they thought the drone was capable of doing and came up with suggestions like take off, land, go higher, go lower, go to the left, go to the right, rotate left, rotate right and flip.  With fingers crossed (not literally) Mrs W was able to demonstrate these actions and was able to take some overhead photos of the students from the drone.  When asked whether a drone is a robot, some students said no, because they can’t be programmed.  To their surprise, they then discovered that a drone can be programmed and helped Mrs W write some code in the Tynker coding app to get the drone to take off, go forward for 1 second, turn 180%, go forward for 1 second and then land.

Reflection

Students were asked to think about ways that drones & robots could be used in the school or community.

Drones

  • By over looking the oval when it is recess or lunch.  Belle
  • To deliver lunch orders. Dylan
  • To spy on people in schools to see what they’re doing. Zac
  • To bring us books.  Mason
  • To see if we need a lock down or if there is a big fire.  Cameron
  • They can help take photos on school photo day.  Angus, Henry, Ollie
  • To help find kids and bring them back so the parents don’t get scared of losing their kid.  Caleb
  • They can be used to take photos of our highlights to put on the blog.  Evan

Robots

  • We can program robots to serve in cafes. Hamish
  • To help people to learn.  Izzy
  • To help people with disabilities.  Quinn
  • To help in classrooms and to help teachers.  Donay
  • To get stuff for you.  Christian

 

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Coding our Maths Quizzes

Since designing their algorithms and user interface for their maths quizzes (see last post), students in the Middle & Senior Learning Communities have created their multiple choice maths quizzes in the Tynker coding app.

Shape Quizzes

The Middle Learning Community students designed & created a multiple choice Shape Quiz, where they used their knowledge of regular polygons and created code that used repetition and branching coding concepts.

  • REPEAT code blocks were used to draw the shapes, by creating code for one side of the shape and then getting the program to repeat it a certain number of times.  The students had previously created algorithms to help them work out the angle to turn at each corner of the shape.
  • Branching was coded by using IF-THEN-ELSE code blocks to perform different actions depending on whether the answer to a question was correct or incorrect.

Here are a couple of examples :

Amber – Year 4

Daniel – Year 5

Times Tables Quizzes

The Senior Learning Community students designed & created a multiple choice Times Tables Quiz.  They coded 10 questions and kept a score on the screen.  Some students were creative in the way they kept score and one student also kept a timer so the user would know how long it took them to do the quiz.

Here are a couple of examples :

Jayden – Year 6

Tomas – Year 6

Liam – Year 6

Have a go at Liam’s quiz and see if you can create a bit of peace and quiet by getting the answers correct so that the chirpy birds disappear.

 

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Algorithms, Shapes & Maths Quizzes

In our Middle and Senior Learning Community Coding Classes students have been learning about algorithms.

Algorithms are detailed step by step instruction sets or formulas for solving a problem or completing a task.  Computer programmers write detailed algorithms to instruct computers and robots how to perform tasks.

The Middle Learning Community practiced designing and writing algorithms for the Pro-Bot robots to draw shapes.  This involved recording some data for each shape, such as the number of sides, the length of the sides and the angle to turn at each corner.  Students observed that algorithms can be written sequentially (the long way) or by using repetition (loops).  They noticed that by using Pro-Bot’s repeat button, the number of buttons that need to be pressed to get Pro-Bot to draw shapes can be reduced dramatically.  Students also used the Tynker coding app to program characters to draw shapes on their iPad screen, as they begin to put together a Tynker Shapes Quiz for other students to use.

The Senior Learning Community students have started designing & coding a Times Tables quiz.  They are choosing 10 times tables questions and presenting each one on the screen as a multiple choice question, where one answer is correct and the other 3 are incorrect.  (They are carefully choosing 3 incorrect answers that could easily be mistaken as the correct answer if the user doesn’t read the question properly).  They have been learning about user interface – what makes a good looking, easy to use and engaging program.  They have been experiencing the importance of good planning & design and have planned out their screen background, characters & questions on paper.  They have designed algorithms using flowcharts that involve decisions and branching for some of their times tables questions.  Planning & design are very important parts of the process of creating software and apps and students have been practicing these skills before embarking on any coding.

Stay tuned to see the quizzes that the Middle & Senior Learning Community students design and create with the Tynker Coding app.

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Pixels, Pixels, Pixels

In last week’s Coding lesson, students learned how computers store and send digital images and how they are able to represent images in a digital format.  It’s all about pixels, pixels …. and more pixels.  Students began by taking a pack of black & white squares (pixels) and creating a picture or pattern on a 6×6 grid.  They were then asked to think of ways to instruct someone else to recreate their picture, without showing them the picture.  They experimented with long verbal instructions, short verbal instructions, words (ie black & white) and letters (ie B & W).  In the end, they realised that the quickest and most efficient way, especially for digital computers, was just to say 0 (for white) or 1 (for black).

In small groups, students then created an 8×8 pixel design on paper.  Another student in the group wrote the binary code (the 0s and 1s) representing the picture.  After folding back the first picture so that it was not visible, a 3rd student decoded the binary code to recreate the picture.  Students then reflected on the accuracy of their binary code & the resulting picture.

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