Twenty junior kindergarten – 5th grade students from the Kennedy-Longfellow School (KLO) took on the challenge to teach teachers, and other community members, how to code at this year’s Lesley University Community of Scholar’s Day. The KLO/Lesley Technology Partnership team are in their third year teaching Scratch and other programming tools to students at the KLO Community Schools Afterschool Program.
At last year’s Community of Scholars event, a large group of students presented their Scratch projects in front of a packed auditorium. This year, the idea was to engage the Lesley Community with hands-on tutorials and let them try their hand at what it means to code. The seven stations offered were: Scratch programming, MaKey MaKey, Lego WeDo robotics kits, littleBits circuit kits, BeeBot robots, Python programming/Minecraft and the iPad apps Daisy the Dinosaur and Kodable. Again the room was packed, but this time both students and community members were abuzz with energetic laughter and curiosity. KLO principal, Mrs. Gerber, made a littleBits “tickle machine”, while the the Cambridge Public School Superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Young, controlled a shark “sprite” in Scratch using a Leap Motion hand controller. Junior Kindergarten students led participants how to program the the BeeBot robots to move in sequences while practicing number and letter recognition. At the MaKey MaKey table, a 5th grade student challenged folks to figure out what materials were conductive, or which complete the circuit, with the end result being controlling a character’s key moves in Scratch with tin foil, water, and even through another person!
One second grade student explained, “This one person said they were trying to learn Scratch for two years, and then she was able to figure it out because of the way I explained it to her today.” The event really exemplified the idea of learning through teaching. The students had to communicate with a diverse range of learners and participants and it was amazing to see their explanations develop and sharpen over the course of the workshop. Thank you to the Lesley community and everyone who stopped in to learn coding from these exceptional young teachers!
Here’s a taste of the day: