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
The Coding Home page includes an embedded video that introduces Block Coding.
The Learn Home page provides an overview of the scope and sequence of Levels around specific topics. Each Level is comprised of a series of Lessons. These Levels and Lessons can be navigated through the left-hand menu or by scrolling through the list of lessons.
Block Coding 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.
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's step includes four sections:
- Instructions: Written explanation of the task(s) for this Lesson step. This section can be hidden and revealed as needed by students. Clicking the speaker icon provides a read aloud function to support all learners. Specific vocabulary may include a link to pop-up definitions.
- Code: Space where students will add and manipulate coding elements. When students have finished a task or created 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), additional options to add and edit elements are provided in this space.
- Console: Identifies errors that exist in a students code after selecting Run.
Practice steps allow students to make decisions about how to use the coding elements provided. These periodic steps provide a scaffold for students to combine conceptual knowledge with computational thinking.
The final step for each lesson is Build. This step offers a creative opportunity for students to apply everything learned in the lesson. Similar to Practice steps, students make decisions about how to use the coding elements provided. As well, the Design panel offers options such as adding more objects, editing objects, and modifying the background and colors.
Block Coding Lesson Supports
A variety of supports are provided for each Block Coding Lesson. Each topic includes a downloadable, printable Student Guide that offers offline coding activities to reinforce and support student learning.
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.
Teachers can access a Lesson Plan that is connected to each Lesson. Lesson Plans can be found on the Introduction step of each Lesson or from the list of all Lessons on the Block Coding Home page. 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 the Lesson.
As students move through each new Level, Refresher Lessons are provided that reinforce concepts and vocabulary introduced previously. Each new Level provides Refresher Lessons for previous Levels. Refresher Lessons follow the same format as all other Lessons and include:
- Introduction, Solve, Practice, and Build steps
- Help Video
- Lesson Plan (for teachers)
Block Coding Create
The opportunity to free code and develop an app is provided through Create. Selecting Create from the Block Coding Home page allows students to develop an app outside of any restrictions or structure provided in the Learn lessons.
By selecting New App, students are directed to a Free Code space that allows them to access all of the content available in Block Coding.
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 they have 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.
Block Coding Glossary
Selecting the Glossary from the Block Coding dropdown menu or Home page provides access to an interactive menu of vocabulary terms specific to that 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, Glossary terms are included in Lessons and are identified as interactive through their color and underlining.
Selecting a Glossary term within a Lesson generates a pop-up definition at point-of-use.