1. Blockly Games
Blocky features a series of puzzles that all require some coding skill to be solved. Skills covered include repetition, conditions, iteration and parameter passing. The puzzles include guiding a bird to pick up a worm so she can feed her nest; guiding an astronaut through a space maze; and shooting targets in a pond.
|This puzzle soon gets more tricky with targets requiring more than one shot to kill. Time to learn a repeat loop.|
2. Code Studio
Code Studio from Code.org contains many hours of Computing Science fun for kids and adults aged four and above. The concept is similar to Blockly Games above, and covers many similar concepts. Students can work trough a series of games at their own pace with each concept introduced by a relevant video and reinforced with multiple choice questions at the end. This is an ideal site for getting girls coding before they hit puberty (and social pressures start to rule their lives).
|Concepts are reinforced with a multiple choice quiz after each challenge.|
|Various different themed challenges from helping an 'Angry bird' through a maze to collecting pollen and nectar as a busy bee.|
|There is also a Spelling Bee section - get it! Use your coding skills to spell the correct word.|
|Some key programming concepts such as repetition are brought to life.|
|A really nice looking interface and those creatures look like they are from 'Angry Birds'.|
|It's not just solving mazes, you can also draw pictures and make stories. Children exposed to Code Studio will be ready for Scratch within a couple of hours.|
3. Code Combat
Code Combat is a great site for getting kids coding, while aimed at older kids than Blockly and Code Studio above, it is a useful experience for kids before they are exposed to traditional written languages. I did a couple of blog posts about Code Combat a few months ago.
|Learn some programming basics whilst playing an adventure game.|
Shameless plug alert! PoopScoop is one of my own creations. It is a puzzle game for Windows in which you use programming statements to solve each maze. The aim of each level is to find and 'scoop' each 'poop' that some thoughless animal has left lying around. There are pits to jump over, walls to push over, blocks to push, magnets to avoid and pools of water to drain. If the thought of scooping poop gets your students a little giddy then there is a slightly tamer - LitterPik - version instead.
There is also a level designer so kids can create their own puzzles.
Search this blog for PoopScoop
|Introducing PoopScoop for Windows.|
Shapes is a programming language designed to get kids interested in programming through drawing colourful images. The language is simply defined using geometric shapes: circle, square, triangle, ellipse, line etc and a coordinate system that uses both relative and absolute coordinates. If you remember the various incarnations of the language LOGO, then you will recognise Shapes - only Shapes is much easier to start drawing interesting images. The installation package comes with a user guide for teachers and I have plenty of example code should you need it.
|An image programming using the SHAPES language.|
Shapes would be useful both to teach programming concepts as well as in mathematics to teach about coordinate systems. I would be very interested to hear from Mathematicians who have used it in their lessons.
|You can download Shapes from this website. Shapes was written by T Street the author of this blog.|
If you made it this far, then you might like to search this blog for other interesting posts:
Circles - a tool for teaching mathematics
The Little Man Computer - for teaching GCSE and A level Computer Science "Low Level Programming"
Goliath - a text adventure game ripe for hacking