Thursday, September 29, 2016

Coding in Kinder at Murphy Creek

I had the pleasure of observing Marla Berkheim’s kindergarten class at Murphy Creek P-8 last week. I was amazed by the activities in this class. Mrs. Berkheim decided to include a STEM component this year. She researched to determine what her students would need for Coding and Engineering. Next, she used Donor’s Choose to help fund materials needed for Coding and Engineering lessons.

Last week the students started learning about Coding. Mrs. Berkheim created posters to help explain coding concepts to the students. The posters included real-life connections, definition and explanation of coding, terminology used in coding, and images of the Robot Mouse and controls.

After the Mrs. Berkheim and the class reviewed the posters and the rules of coding, the students paired up and explored using either the Robot Mouse or  Think and Learn Code-a-pillar.

By Thursday, their third session of coding, students were able to share real-life examples of coding. When Mrs. Berkheim asked for examples of coding that they saw at home, many students shared ideas such as refrigerator, coffee pot, television remote, programmable toys.

In addition to making real life connections, these kindergartners were also able to explain what coding means and use correct terminology. Through the time I was there, I heard several students use troubleshoot, command, sequence, clear, action, and other coding terms. Not only did they use the terms, but they performed the actions that they were talking about.

mouse.pngDuring this session, Mrs. Berkheim modeled how they could add an obstacle or course and code the Robot Mouse of Code-a-pillar to go from one spot to another. Again, the students worked in groups of two or three to plan and code the devices. Most of them had to use their troubleshooting skills to get it to work correctly.

Today, Mrs. Berkheim is going to introduce the mazes to her students. Students will be coding the Robot Mouse and Code-a-pillars to go move through the mazes. I bet many of them will be collaborating to troubleshoot their plans with the commands in order to move the devices through the mazes.


It was incredible to observe these engaged students display the 4 Cs of the 21st Century Learners: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I look forward to returning to Mrs. Berkheim’s kindergarten class when they are working on Engineering.

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