Coding FUNdamentals: New Computer Science Lessons for Students of All Ages
| Minecraft: Education Edition; Computer Science; Coding; Learn to Code; Coding Fundamentals
It’s a great time to learn to code! If you were waiting on the perfect set of lessons to get you started, your day has come. We’ve released a whole suite of new computer science lessons to teach students of all ages coding fundamentals. They’re fun, they’re easy to get into, and they all utilize a story-based and cross-curricular approach.
The Coding FUNdamentals lessons introduce and teach students the basics of coding, from algorithms, sequencing, and loops all the way to conditionals, operators, events, variables, and functions. Students begin in an animal research center investigating challenges facing polar bears and gray wolves, and then journey all the way to Venus and Mars, coding along the way. Activities range from the Galapagos Islands, to Mercury’s Rings, to Ancient Rome.
If you’re an educator that doesn’t know too much of Minecraft, fear not! These lessons present an excellent opportunity to facilitate the learning process without necessarily identifying as a Minecraft player yourself. All the worlds are designed for self-directed learning, and organized by a progressive methodology that allows students to continue only after successfully completing activities at their own pace. Lesson plans also include a variety of unplugged activities that don’t require use of Minecraft.
The Coding FUNdamentals lessons were created in conjunction with ReWrite Media and Trish Cloud, Coordinator of Digital Innovation at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. Here’s what Trish has to say about them:
“Being a part of the team that created Coding Fundamentals has been such an honor. When I began, I remember my goals were to create fun and interactive content while teaching foundational Computer Science and computational thinking concepts. I know from experience there is limited time in the elementary classroom to fit another thing in; with that in mind, we all worked to find topics for the lessons that could fit in an elementary student’s day, align with core standards, and be interesting for the student. With lesson blocks on animals, space, and time travel, I believe we have created content accessible to upper elementary and easily facilitated by teachers. We aimed for students to complete the curriculum learning concepts and skills and see the creativity that can occur while coding. When students finish this curriculum and enter middle school, we hope they will have a solid foundation of Computer Science principles and be ready for whatever Computer Science coding path they choose.” – Trish Cloud, Coordinator of Digital Innovation, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
Coding FUNdamentals contains eighteen block-based coding lessons split into three streams, with lessons designed to guide students through their computer science journey. Each lesson should take forty-five minutes to complete, for a total of eighteen hours of coding curriculum. Let’s jump in!
Block 1: Use algorithms, sequencing, and loops to solve fun coding puzzles while learning about different animals and the challenges they face!
The first block of Coding FUNdamentals lessons begins in the Animal Research Center, where students can learn about animals in different habitats, or biomes, and the challenges they face. Through these six lessons, students will use code to solve problems for sea turtles, polar bears, pandas and gray wolves. They’ll learn to program the agent alone, and then work collaboratively to revisit each animal challenge.
Block 2: Learn to debug code and use conditionals, operators, and loops while helping the agent collect materials throughout the solar system!
In the second block of Coding FUNdamentals lessons, students will travel through the solar system, collecting materials and solving coding problems in space. To begin, students will arrive at the Minecraft Space Center to complete a series of trials and trainings with the agent. They’ll then visit the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune – learning coding fundamentals along the way. Students will journey through the solar system to collect materials alone, but return back to the spaceship to analyze together and work collaboratively.
Block 3: Travel through time, from the pre-historic era to the far-away future! See dinosaurs, Roman aqueducts, and the wild west while you learn how to use variables, events, conditionals, and functions.
In the final set of lessons, students will need to repair a time travelling device that has been misfiring and sending travelers all throughout history. Students will work to overcome a series of coding challenges in the past to return to the future. They’ll sneak past dinosaurs, repair some columns in Ancient Rome, and even plant some beets for future snacks! While the first five lessons are single player worlds, the final lesson gives students the opportunity to work collaboratively and showcase their learning in a multiplayer world.