Busy Code is designed to be a gentle introduction for young children (6 to 11) who have never done any coding before, and provides a brilliant solution for teachers that are new to programming, perhaps know nothing about it, or want to know more about teaching it.
Pupils program Beard Man and his bearded friends to move around and perform actions such and turning, walking, jumping and dancing in the spotlight. The character can also be programmed to avoid puddles and collect stars. Children will learn basic programming such as sequencing commands, identifying patterns and using conditions and loops, developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills along the way.
Programs in Busy Code are built by simply linking blocks together. Drag and drop the blocks to assemble a program – blocks will snap together like jigsaw pieces! Recognising that teachers can lack knowledge and perhaps find coding intimidating, each concept is introduced by a step by step tutorial and there is also a comprehensive guide to support the activities.
“Coding is at the heart what we do, Busy Things simply wouldn’t exist without it!” enthused founder and CEO Rachel Hall. “Our games, activities and the platform itself have all been built in-house by our programmers. Being passionate about the subject, Busy Code seemed a natural next addition to our platform.”
Rachel continues: “We know programming doesn’t necessarily come naturally to a lot of teachers - they haven’t grown up with the subject. It’s a new way of thinking, not to mention the whole new vocabulary that comes along with it! We wanted to create a set of resources that would give Primary teachers the knowledge and engaging tools they need to be confident in teaching the subject.”
Busy Things programmer Duncan added: “In many ways coding is not a skill that can be taught, it’s a way of thinking, which children can only develop by practising independently. They need to play and experiment to gain confidence.”
There are five areas in Busy Code - each progressing in difficulty. Within each area are three activity types - tutorials, challenges and projects.
- Tutorials – introduce new programming concepts step by step.
- Challenges – children are given problems to solve using the concepts that have been introduced in the tutorial.
- Projects – open-ended tasks that let children experiment with the concepts they have learnt. Allowing them to be creative and see how the changes they make can alter the program.
Busy Code has been designed as a lead into Scratch – the widely used programming platform for older children going into secondary school and beyond. Sound like something you need in your classroom? As a reader of Innovate My School, you can enjoy access free-of-charge until 9th February.
Simply visit www.busythings.co.uk/play and log in with:
Alternatively, take a free trial of the full Busy Things platform by going to www.busythings.co.uk/login-signup. For more information, visit www.busythings.co.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 01332 364963.
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