Author Topic: Coding For Kids  (Read 3476 times)

aceyou

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Coding For Kids
« on: November 20, 2016, 03:17:20 PM »
My neighbor has an 8 year old who is interested in learning to code/program.  If any of you know of online resources that you have found good for young children, please share! 

Kell7279

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 03:41:15 PM »
Check out https://scratch.mit.edu/. It's a drag-and-drop programming language developed for kids by some smart people at MIT. It's fun for older kids, too! I've used it with high schoolers, and they love it because it allows them to be creative.

pedal stache

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2016, 05:47:57 PM »
There are a lot of resources out there to teach programming to kids. One of my favorites that teaches some basic concepts in a fun way is https://code.org/

I also think it is valuable to get young programmers interested in hardware so they can begin to understand components and there roles during code execution. For this, I recommend a Raspberry Pi, they are easy to setup, have programming resources installed on most distros, and are cheap. There are also educational resources for using Pis: https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Finally, some people will not be interested in just looking at a screen and providing some input to get some output. For these people, I think a programmable robot is a great introduction that makes programming a bit more fun. Something like the scribbler http://wiki.roboteducation.org/Myro_Hardware is a good place to start and I think there are some good programming lessons to follow that will teach people how to program them.

Systems101

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2016, 08:54:28 PM »
Check out https://scratch.mit.edu/.

I've run workshops for students of that age group to learn scratch, so I second this, but will add some advice echoing something similar to @pedal stache...  Consider doing some offline things as well that help with the logic/rules aspect (check out scratch cards as one type of support - but I think some other logic generating activities as well are useful), since at that age, the interaction with something more Kinesthetic tends to help keep up the level of interest.

Believe it or not, Minecraft is another option.  Learning how to do customization there can draw in folks who heavily enjoy it.  Younger son of one friend has totally been into this for a while (just turned 10).

A few other ideas: If you're ready to get into a little bit of hardware as well, check out http://makeymakey.com/ ... it can be used to do some fun projects around carrot chimes, et al.   This is great because they are doing something that is less abstract than on a computer - it's a physical thing they can interact with...

Starting at 9, you can also consider First Lego League, where they will learn to program (and build a robot).  That season is wrapping up now, and the teams usually fill very fast, so you will want to start looking around next Spring.  Just after the high school teams finish in April, you should be serious about finding a team for the fall.  Much of the team creation is finished in June/July.

Other local companies where I am have also used Sphero: http://www.sphero.com/sphero to do demonstrations, since it can be controlled from a tablet, which seems to make it more accessible for some students.  Build a maze with legos (or left over duplos) and navigate it is a good intro to logic.


Financial Ascensionist

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2016, 09:14:32 PM »
I second the Minecraft recommendation.  I have not tried it myself, but I have a coworker who is teaching his son how to code in Python using Minecraft and he reports that the level of engagement is very high.

aceyou

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2016, 12:48:46 PM »
I sure do appreciate the responses from all of you.  I spoke with my math students today (I'm a math teacher), and they suggested the Khan Academy Computer Programming section, and Lego Mindstorm.  Do any of you have any experience with them to give me a review of how good they are? 

socalteacher

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2016, 01:39:22 PM »
You can check out code.org too. I use this with my son (6) and my class (9-11yrs). There are multiple courses you can "take" or just play around.

Systems101

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2016, 02:11:50 PM »
I sure do appreciate the responses from all of you.  I spoke with my math students today (I'm a math teacher), and they suggested the Khan Academy Computer Programming section, and Lego Mindstorm.  Do any of you have any experience with them to give me a review of how good they are?

Lego Mindstorm is the base system used in the First Lego League (FLL) I mentioned.  FLL simply provides a structure and task around programming a Mindstorm robot to a number of challenges.  So yes, I have some experience there as well, and since it was part of my original post, it would fall in the recommended section.  The group dynamics, specific challenges and deadlines of FLL (not to mention the folks doing the mentoring of the teams who can teach the students the programming) can be a good thing.  Depending on what someone is willing to spend, you may want to look around the area for an FLL camp.  Many areas have some form of that over the summer to provide an introduction to Mindstorms/FLL.  (Basically they run through a full season in a week)

I'd be concerned about Khan for that age group (8 yo).   I think it is way too much for a typical student of that age, especially if the parents are not programmers or the student hasn't started programming already.   I would definitely start with something simple like Scratch (or as @socalteacher mentioned, code.org) as the foundation before I went to Khan.  Let Khan be step 2 (or probably even 3) once the student is hungry to learn more.

A lot of this comes down to the individual student.  The reason that there are different resources is that different students do well with different things.  Try the free ones first (Scratch, code.org), and if those are not working (or if you already know the student is very kinesthetic), then go into more hardware based items like Mindstorms.



aceyou

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2016, 09:00:56 PM »
I sure do appreciate the responses from all of you.  I spoke with my math students today (I'm a math teacher), and they suggested the Khan Academy Computer Programming section, and Lego Mindstorm.  Do any of you have any experience with them to give me a review of how good they are?

Lego Mindstorm is the base system used in the First Lego League (FLL) I mentioned.  FLL simply provides a structure and task around programming a Mindstorm robot to a number of challenges.  So yes, I have some experience there as well, and since it was part of my original post, it would fall in the recommended section.  The group dynamics, specific challenges and deadlines of FLL (not to mention the folks doing the mentoring of the teams who can teach the students the programming) can be a good thing.  Depending on what someone is willing to spend, you may want to look around the area for an FLL camp.  Many areas have some form of that over the summer to provide an introduction to Mindstorms/FLL.  (Basically they run through a full season in a week)

I'd be concerned about Khan for that age group (8 yo).   I think it is way too much for a typical student of that age, especially if the parents are not programmers or the student hasn't started programming already.   I would definitely start with something simple like Scratch (or as @socalteacher mentioned, code.org) as the foundation before I went to Khan.  Let Khan be step 2 (or probably even 3) once the student is hungry to learn more.

A lot of this comes down to the individual student.  The reason that there are different resources is that different students do well with different things.  Try the free ones first (Scratch, code.org), and if those are not working (or if you already know the student is very kinesthetic), then go into more hardware based items like Mindstorms.

Thank you.  Yeah, I spent 30 minutes on Khan today and it didn't seem engaging enough for a young child either.  It's great for an adult because it's all information, but kids need fun/cool.  Thanks again for all of your info and analysis. 

Hadilly

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2016, 12:19:08 AM »
Kodable is a fun, gamefied app to start with. We began with that, then, code.org, scratch, and now khan academy.  It is really nice because literacy is not required to do and enjoy it.

Adam Zapple

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2016, 05:21:00 AM »
What a great idea.  I'm always looking for ways to keep my oldest occupied in a productive way.  Thanks to the OP for starting this thread and for all the great replies.  We're going to try Tynker, which we found through code.org.  I'll try to remember to update.

canadian bacon

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2016, 09:36:11 AM »
Along with scratch, there is google cs (https://www.cs-first.com/en/home) that is a free course that you can take yourself.   Pretty cool intro to programming.

SeaEhm

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2016, 10:06:44 AM »
code.org

teen persuasion

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2016, 07:48:27 PM »
Along with scratch, there is google cs (https://www.cs-first.com/en/home) that is a free course that you can take yourself.   Pretty cool intro to programming.

DS5 is in a coding club at his MS that is using CS First.  It's just getting off the ground, they've had 2 meetings so far, but he's having fun.

Rubyist

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2016, 08:30:34 PM »
I don't know any kids and I mainly learned to code as an adult, but my first thought was: do kids need kid-specific materials to learn to code? I think a motivated 10-year-old could handle the Ruby lessons on codecademy just fine; not sure about an 8-year-old. Thoughts?

Edit: I would for sure recommend the card game Fluxx. I used to love it, and later when I learned to program, I realized that Fluxx is kind of like programming. The rules change depending on what cards are played, and interpreting the rules is similar to how a computer interprets code.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2016, 08:36:58 PM by Stash cash, not yarn »

BuffaloStache

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2016, 09:46:48 PM »
I'm posting in this thread to follow it for later reading. Great resources here!

powersuitrecall

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2016, 11:19:19 AM »
Several years ago my wife and I did some work with kids at a local after-school club using Lego Mindstorms.  Now that we have kids of our own (currently 3 & 5) we are excited to introduce coding into their lives.  We recently started playing the Robot Turtles board game - it's a fun simple introduction to command logic.

tonysemail

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2016, 10:02:51 PM »
This is a book that I've seen recommended a few times-
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733628-coding-games-in-scratch

I picked it up from the library and my 8 year old daughter likes it.
She is able to follow the step-by-step instructions to make a game.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2019, 10:21:59 AM »
Resurrecting this thread since I recently heard about a new toy to teach children the basics of programming without screens: https://getmangobot.com/

It seems fairly expensive, but does anyone have experience with it? I may just set an alert on CraigsList to see if I can get a used set of these some time. My kid isn't quite 2 yet, but it has potential for when he is a little bit older...

Chris22

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 11:59:04 AM »
Resurrecting this thread since I recently heard about a new toy to teach children the basics of programming without screens: https://getmangobot.com/

It seems fairly expensive, but does anyone have experience with it? I may just set an alert on CraigsList to see if I can get a used set of these some time. My kid isn't quite 2 yet, but it has potential for when he is a little bit older...

I've volunteered at my daughter's school last year when she was a kindergartner, and they were using a similar robot but it worked on a big sheet of graph paper, and you had to push arrow keys in a sequence to move it to an objective.  It was sort of rudimentary programming, you had to move it maybe 5 spaces forward, right turn, two spaces, left turn, 1 space, and end.  Something like that.  No idea what it was called but I bet it couldn't  have been that expensive, the tech lab had a whole box full of them. 

BuffaloStache

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2019, 02:16:05 PM »
^ Sounds like MangoBot is similar to this, but probably has more bells and whistles (maybe loops, etc.). Either way, would you say these toys actually teach kids a programming/problem-solving mindset? Or do you think it was mostly a waste?

Chris22

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2019, 02:58:44 PM »
^ Sounds like MangoBot is similar to this, but probably has more bells and whistles (maybe loops, etc.). Either way, would you say these toys actually teach kids a programming/problem-solving mindset? Or do you think it was mostly a waste?

For kindergarten/1st grade, I think it helps in getting you in the mindset of giving specific directions and thinking linearly, which is important for coding.  But it's just the first step down a long path.  Remember, at this age kids are just starting to read so a solution based on arrows, etc, is easier for them than words, etc.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2019, 04:53:31 PM »
Ptf

phildonnia

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2019, 05:06:16 PM »
Check out https://scratch.mit.edu/. It's a drag-and-drop programming language developed for kids by some smart people at MIT. It's fun for older kids, too! I've used it with high schoolers, and they love it because it allows them to be creative.

My kids all use Scratch.  Like, instead of playing video games.  One great feature is that you can "remix" anybody else's program and make it do something else.

With older kids, you can try any of the many Python books for kids out there.

SnipTheDog

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Re: Coding For Kids
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2019, 09:23:47 AM »
There are a lot of resources out there to teach programming to kids. One of my favorites that teaches some basic concepts in a fun way is https://code.org/

I also think it is valuable to get young programmers interested in hardware so they can begin to understand components and there roles during code execution. For this, I recommend a Raspberry Pi, they are easy to setup, have programming resources installed on most distros, and are cheap. There are also educational resources for using Pis: https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Finally, some people will not be interested in just looking at a screen and providing some input to get some output. For these people, I think a programmable robot is a great introduction that makes programming a bit more fun. Something like the scribbler http://wiki.roboteducation.org/Myro_Hardware is a good place to start and I think there are some good programming lessons to follow that will teach people how to program them.

Raspberry Pi's are wonderful tools.  For $39 you can get your neighbor a cheap but very functional linux box that works great.  I'm still using one at work for writing Python code.   Plus through AdaFruit (and others) there are lots of cheap add on electrical gadgets to play with and learn.