In this lesson we will be using is an app called Codespark which is available on Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) devices. You can read about it on their website here. All students have a free account which they have already used in class. However, most families will need to install it on their home iPads/tablets. You do NOT have to pay to use this app so long as it is using their school account.
Year 1 students who were at St. Andrews last year would have used this app in their digital technology classes so they should be able to pick it up very quickly.
If you have an iPad use this link to install it or search in the app store: https://apps.apple.com/au/app/codespark-academy-kids-coding/id923441570#?platform=ipad
For Android devices use the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.codespark.thefoos&hl=en_AU
If you do not have a iPad or tablet there is also a website that you can use from any browser. Students have had a brief introduction to this and some initially struggled to use the mouse on the desktop computers in our lab, but quickly got the hang of it after a few minutes. They learn quick – with help of course! Use this link to use the browser version of the app: https://codespark.com/play/
When you load the app you should see the following screen or something very similar:
You may be tempted to select the big green ‘Parents Start Here’ button, but you must resist and instead tap the ‘Schools’ button that is highlighted in the top-left corner.
Next tap the Students button that is highlighted on the picture above.
Then tap the ‘Use Classroom Code’ button.
This is where things get a little complicated. The classroom code is different for each of the prep classes AND it only last for 2 hours after I generate it. This means I can’t put it in a nice graphic for you as it will likely change during the week. Instead you will need to visit this page and maybe refresh/reload it to get the latest code. However, you only have to do this once and then your device will be connected permanently (as long as you don’t logout of the student account).
If you made it this far you’ve done very well and deserve a coffee break. You should see the screen below.
I’ve put together an introductory video for parents to help their children work through the puzzles. Chapter 1 and 2 of these puzzles introduce basic coding concepts. Perhaps it makes more sense if I explain it as problem solving puzzles that requires logical thinking, experimentation and creativity.
These puzzles do increase in difficulty so if your child ever gets stuck and needs some suggestions then you can always refer to the solution guides by clicking this link:
Students will need to work their way through chapter 1 before chapter 2 unlocks automatically. They should find it easy to begin with, but some of the puzzles are quite difficult. Remember, students should take a break every 30 minutes or so. There’s no requirement that they finish a certain number of puzzles. They should work at their own pace and be happy to experiment several times before getting a working solution.