Pupils coach peers and adults at Haanja School in Estonia

17-21 October was Code Week at Haanja School, introducing pupils mostly from lower grades to programming games and educational robots. The aim of the event was to generate more interest in the subject among the pupils and to give them the chance to be teachers to their fellow students and adults.

 

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The week began with pupils from Grades 1 & 2 selecting a coding lesson from http://code.org and trying to solve the task it set out. The most popular lesson was one based on Minecraft. The quickest pupils soon solved the task, giving them time to get to know the LightBot.

We planned a 20-minute lesson on digital devices for Wednesday during which pupils from Grades 1 & 2 introduced educational robots (BeeBot, Ozobot and Edison) to pupils from Grades 3 & 4. Beforehand we talked to the pupils about how to go about teaching, what to say and how to instruct others. It was great to see the pupils so enthusiastic about their tasks – they explained things and taught things and did it all in an understandable way.

The lesson proved so popular that we repeated it the following day. This time, however, everyone got the chance to try out the robot of their choice, with pupils from Grades 1 & 2 providing instructions and recommendations where needed. One of the girls in the group said: “We should have lessons like this every week!”

We rounded off the week with an open lesson on coding which parents and teachers also could attend and join in the programming games. Another lesson was chosen from http://code.org and the group worked in pairs to solve the task. Here and there it really was a case of the student teaching the teacher! A total of 10 pupils from Grades 1 & 2 took part in this lesson, along with three parents, two teachers and three students from Grade 9. Everyone had a great time playing and learning together.

 

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In summary, EU Code Week was a great success, with students taking an active and very enthusiastic role. By Friday many were a little burnt out, but still full of interest. Organising such an event takes quite a bit of planning and organising on the part of teachers, but it makes a great break from routine for the kids. I mostly used maths lessons for the coding classes – and breaks that you can fill with something educational are always welcome.

Story and photos by Kerli Perend, teacher at Haanja school