Seventh graders – who have been studying various concepts of programming in teacher Carole DelJuidice’s technology classes – programmed a small computing device to display numbers on a screen.
As part of the Dice Project, the students were challenged to think of the role and process of physical dice before programming a simulation in Microsoft’s MakeCode programming platform. Once completed, they downloaded the program to their physical computing device, called micro:bit, to physically test out their program designs.
“The micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that introduces students to how software and hardware work together,” DelJuidice said. “It has an LED light display, buttons, sensors and many input and output features that they can program and physically interact with. They can be used to do all sorts of things like power cameras, write words in lights, choose playlists or control musical instruments.”
DelJuidice said the purpose of this project was to expose students to design thinking and get them comfortable with the foundations of program design. They have been practicing key programming skills, such as loops, nested loops, conditional statements, variables and data sets. They also complete a new cycle of work each week, which consists of programming activities, digital citizenship activities and fundamental technology skills.
Over the next few projects, the seventh graders will build upon their knowledge to create Rock, Paper, Scissors games as well as a Magic 8-Ball project.
“I hope my students most importantly had fun while also growing their understanding of computer science,” DelJuidice said. “I want my students to feel empowered to design and program anything they set their minds to.”