It’s Friday morning just a few short weeks before Christmas. Honestly, my mind is focused on festivities, shopping and lounging by the fireplace watching a holiday movie. Instead, we are hosting robotics at our house and I am contemplating what we are going to do for the day. It does not seem practical to begin a new design task when this is our only meeting before Christmas. I decide to go with a party, watch some YouTube videos, and experiment with Scratch. We are not quite ready for coding in Robotics but the kids have been wanting to try the program and this seemed like an ideal day to play around with code.
I have no experience with Scratch. I want to learn but honestly this mother of three has not had time. But I decide to put the theory of peer learning to the test. In our group we have kids ranging in age from 8 to 13. It turns out that one of the younger kids has used Scratch before and is eager to help his friends. The three middle school kids, who are Minecraft and Clash of Clans experts, easily pick up how to use the interface and work together on a project. The younger kids ask a question and the older kids sit next to them, helping the boys get their code to run properly. Age and ability does not matter. I pause to think about this for a moment and realize how lucky we are in our homeschooling world. There is no worry or fear of being made fun of, nor is there a feeling of being an “uncool” middle schooler if one is helping a third grader. In our world learning is fun and engaging. The kids see each other as individuals regardless of gender or age. They get to spend hours , without interruption , pursuing their passion of gaming and coding while drinking hot chocolate and eating homemade brownies.
Two days later my kids are still experimenting with Scratch on their own and are having fun creating their own projects! Hour of Code begins next week and we are are ready to tackle the projects online : http://hourofcode.com/us
Scratch–Find out more about how Scratch can help your child create stories and animations:
Why consider coding? Listen to Mitch Resnick’s TedEd Talk on how coding can lead to learning strategies with problem solving, communicating ideas and designing projects kids are passionate about:
My kids like these cards and have asked to print them out. The cards contain some of the codes to have at your fingertips :