UNIVERSE CODING

written by Danijela Maurac

I am a primary school teacher at Primary school Bol, Split in Croatia. I’m a teacher who believes that school must continually encourage students to develop competencies that will enable them to apply the acquired knowledge in real life. The ability to read, play, be creative and handle projects are key to achieving this.

This year I have curious and creative nine-year-olds who are always ready for challenges and new projects. So, we signed up for EU code week, coded, deciphered, learned and had a lot of fun.

     

How to introduce a nine-year-old student to the world of coding in an acceptable and interesting way? I asked myself this question before starting the planning of the EU Code Week, thinking about the topics and the implementation of the activities. That same week (4-10 October) that World Space Week took place. In our school, Elementary School Bol, Split, Croatia this event was held by setting up an exhibition Women in Space, which presented the works of students created in various creative workshops. Students painted, recycled, explored planets, space bodies, and women flying into space. Many posters, presentations, drawings were created. We presented the exhibition to our partners in the Erasmus project Cultural Bridges in Europe, and we also applied for Erasmus days.

It made sense to continue the EU Code Week on the topic of space. I designed two activities for my students. The first is to create images in pixels in which students used a binary system to decrypt a given code. During decoding, they had to paint pixels on a 10×10 square board. By deciphering, they got a robot and a rocket. The second task is programming in Scratch.

     

The students had the task of devising a code with which to launch a rocket to the moon. Since they are just starting to learn programming in Scratch, the workshop is designed so that older students can support younger ones. In this way, collaboration, creativity, communication, and IT skills have developed.

It was hard work and fun. The students were satisfied with the completion of their activities, looking for more tasks.

The code of my event, Universe coding, I posted in the Facebook group EU code week Teachers inviting colleagues to join. I had no idea that so many interested people would apply, so I shared the Padlet link where I posted the activity materials.

Sharing advice, experiences, communication, and collaboration alternated and the work of colleagues soon began to arrive. I am honoured to have been a part of this story and to have gone beyond my classroom and moved to other classrooms across Europe and to have other nine-year-olds enter the world of coding.