Block Coding introduces coding concepts and thinking skills in a visual format that builds a strong foundation that supports learning in other programming languages.
Introducing Block Coding
Access Block Coding from the top navigation bar or through the Learn, Create, Glossary buttons on the Coding homepage.
Select Learn for an overview of the scope and sequence of Levels around specific topics. Each Level is comprised of a series of Lessons.
Navigate these Levels and Lessons through the left-hand menu or scroll through the list of lessons.
Each lesson in Block Coding creates a self-guided experience for students through a series of scaffolded tasks. Lessons always begin with an Introduction to the concept as the first step.
Solve: As students progress through each Lesson, they are introduced to coding concepts and vocabulary in the Solve steps. Hands-on tasks are provided to allow students to practice dragging and dropping objects, events, and actions. These tasks support the development of computational thinking skills such as logic and sequencing.
Each Lesson step contains the following:
- Instructions: Written explanation of the task(s) with the accompanying video for the Lesson. Specific vocabulary may include a link to pop-up definitions. Select the speaker icon to access the read aloud feature.
- Code: Space where students add and manipulate coding elements. When students finish a task or create their own code, they select Run to test.
- Design: Provides a space for the avatars that follow the code when Run is selected. During the final step of each Lesson (Build), this space provides additional options to add and edit elements.
- Console: Errors in coding appear in this panel.
Note the bottom action bar where the user toggles between Code and Design.
Practice: The Practice step allows students to make decisions about how to use the coding elements provided. These steps provide a scaffold for students to combine conceptual knowledge with computational thinking.
Build: Sometimes, a Lesson has a final Build step. This step offers a creative opportunity for students to apply everything learned in the lesson. Students make decisions about how to use the coding elements provided.
Debugging Lessons give students the opportunity to practice using their coding knowledge to fix errors. Locate these lessons at the end of most Levels.
Block Coding Lesson Supports
A variety of supports are provided for each Block Coding Lesson. These supports include the following:
Student Guide: Each topic includes a downloadable, printable Student Guide that offers offline coding activities to reinforce and support student learning.
Help Video: Each Lesson includes a Help Video. This video provides both the purpose for the Lesson as well as a tutorial to support students as they progress through each step. The Help Video can be accessed from any step within the Lesson.
Lesson Plan: Teachers can access a Lesson Plan that is connected to each Lesson. Locate Lesson Plans in the Introduction step of each Lesson or from the list of all Lessons on the Block Coding homepage.
Lesson Plans are downloadable, printable PDFs that include an overview, learning objectives, success criteria, key vocabulary, key questions, and strategies to support students as they move through the steps of a Lesson.
Refresher Lesson: As students move through each new Level, Refresher Lessons reinforce concepts and vocabulary. Each new Level provides Refresher Lessons for the previous Level. Refresher Lessons follow the same format as all other Lessons and include:
- Introduction, Solve, Practice, and Build steps
- Help Video
- Lesson Plan (for teachers)
With Create, students have the opportunity to free code and develop an app. Select Create from the Block Coding homepage to allow students to develop an app outside of any restrictions or structure provided in the Learn lessons.
In New App, students are directed to a Free Code space that allows them to practice using all they have learned through the Block Coding Lessons.
Run code validates the code that students have entered. Code that is correct displays in the Code panel. Errors in coding appear in the Console panel.
A dropdown menu allows students to limit the block types they can use while creating an app. The default is All blocks but can be changed to limit options to only blocks used at certain levels. This allows students to free code at any point using the block types they are familiar with and comfortable using.
By selecting the Plus (+) symbol in the Code panel, students can access all the coding blocks encountered and used during Learn. Blocks are presented in a scrollable, alphabetical list by function and can be filtered by selected category types or keyword search.
Students can also make decisions about their app using the Design panel. Based on the Blocks selection from the dropdown menu (All blocks or by Level), different object types can be added and edited, background and colors can be modified, and the settings for how objects will behave in the Design panel can be set.
Select Glossary from the dropdown menu or homepage to access an interactive menu of vocabulary terms specific to the coding language.
Glossary terms are presented in a scrollable alphabetical list that provides each term and its meaning.
A navigable grid of letters allows you to jump to any section of the list by selecting a letter. Only letters that have associated Glossary terms can be selected.
Additionally, interactive Glossary terms are included in Lessons.
Select a Glossary term within a Lesson to generate a pop-up definition at point-of-use.
The Help tab provides definitions for the various blocks and actions available within the Learn and Create sections of Coding.