Coding Shapes with Primary School Children

An interview with teachers Leslee Minniti (Grade 1), Bronna Silver (Grades 2/3) and Iain Brodie (Grades 7/8) of St. Andrews Public School, TDSB, on collaborating to engage Grades 1-3 students with coding for the first time.

Pre-coding lesson

Ms Minniti and Ms Silver discuss the lesson they did with their students prior to programming in Scratch.

Primary school students don’t have the mathematical foundation for squares and other shapes.
The teachers planned ways for engaging the children meaningfully with these ideas, such as giving instructions of ‘how to walk a square’.

Coding a square in Scratch

Mr. Brodie’s grade 7/8 students learned how to program shapes in Scratch and then supported the grades 1 and 2/3 classes with the actual coding lesson.
“In the Grade 1 room it was great to see the older kids with the little kids and their little hands were just hovering above the keyboard and sometimes they’d pull them down and your kids (Grades 7/8) were so beautiful at saying, ‘No you use your hands, you’re going to do it.’”


What happens if…?

In this portion of the interview, Ms Minniti and Ms Silver talk about the amazing things that were happening in their classrooms while coding.  Students were questioning and wondering while they were coding.  The younger students were excited to be sharing their knowledge with the grade 7/8 students.  The students did not want to stop and were eager to try to figure out the steps required to make a variety of shapes.

Adapted from: (A Project by G. Gadanidis, 2016)