A fantastic free app from Curriculum Pathways, CodeSnaps, can engage an entire classroom with just one iPad and one robot. Using printed coding blocks, students create programs that, when scanned by the CodeSnaps app, can be executed on a robotic ball. While CodeSnaps is an excellent resource for introducing students to coding, it can also help teach concepts as diverse as geometry, friction, and teamwork.
Navigating an Obstacle Course (QL #1588) is a collaborative activity that uses the CodeSnaps iPad app to introduce students to coding and the roles of a programming team. In groups of three, students program a robot to navigate an obstacle course. The domain expert measures and draws the course and communicates requirements back to the team. The lead programmer uses printed CodeSnaps blocks to write a program that controls the robotic ball. The tester watches the robot execute the program, notes any errors, and reports these back to the group as bugs for the team to fix.
Square Dancing (QL #1587) allows students to demonstrate an understanding of squares with the CodeSnaps iPad app and one robot. Using coding blocks, students guide a robot as it constructs a square given a single distance that may represent attributes of the square. Using the distance as 1) a side of the square, 2) a diagonal of the square, and 3) a segment between the midpoints of two sides of the square, students show knowledge of the special quadrilateral and its angles.
Rolling Friction and Surfaces (QL #1589) helps students learn about friction by measuring changes in the speed of a robotic ball as it travels across different surfaces. Students first learn how balanced and unbalanced forces cause changes to objects in motion and how friction between surfaces impacts movement. Students then investigate rolling friction by first selecting surfaces (e.g., asphalt, carpet, tile, or wood) for a robotic ball to roll across and then predicting the surface on which the robotic ball will roll most quickly. Next, students use the CodeSnaps iPad app to program the robotic ball to roll the same distance across each surface. To calculate speed, students record each distance in meters and travel time in seconds. Finally, students use their calculations to determine which surfaces exerted the most friction and explain the impact of friction on speed.
Watch for more lessons using CodeSnaps and learn how you can engage and empower students through computer science.