About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5603-5610
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0342

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

AN INNOVATIVE 3-STEP METHOD OF TEACHING THE BASICS OF PROGRAMMING TO YOUNG PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

Computers and automations have become part and parcel of our everyday life. Children start to use tablets even before they start school. Although most of the children are very good users, they have little knowledge on how computers are programmed or how they operate. Working in a school where all levels of the first and second degree of education are present, we could have an overall view of the education system and the way students adopt the knowledge we try to teach them.

In order to teach the basics of programming to younger primary school students, of ages 6 to 9 years old, we have developed three games. It is worth mentioning that these games do not require the use of a computer. Kids at that age want to play, so we lay the computer aside and give children the chance to play games. Through these games, we try to develop the skills of team work, role playing, the ability to solve complex problems and of course the main concepts of a computer program: one action at a time and correct sequence of commands.

The first game is for 6-year-old children. We draw a number of pathways on the floor putting a house, a school, a theater and a grocery store at each end. Pathways are divided into steps, marked with rectangular shapes. Students take the roles of the computer, the programmer and the commands. The programmers have to choose the appropriate commands and put them in the correct order to complete the mission assigned by the teacher. For example, to lead the computer from the starting point to the school.

The second game is addressed to 7 and 8-year-old children. It is a board game where the commands are printed on cards. Each player spins the wheel of actions and then follows the corresponding action. In the beginning, a mission is assigned to all players. They have to lead their figure from the starting point to a specific endpoint, different for each player, through a table of rectangular steps. The aim of the game is to gather all the appropriate commands, put them in the correct order and reach the target. This game is more complex, because we have implemented interaction between players and alternative routes, so children have to think their next steps and change plans as the game evolves.

The third game is for children of ages 7 to 9 years old. We have built a robot using the mindstorms NXT2 set of Lego. The robot uses a color sensor to read a sequence of colored rectangular bricks. Each color represents one command.

Students have to decide the sequence of the colored bricks in order to lead the robot from one place to another according to the mission assigned by the teacher. An alternative game is to put the robot on a starting position, prepare a set of bricks on the robot in some order and ask the children to find the ending point of the robot’s route.

All three games were tested to the students of Axion primary school and the results were encouraging. The students learned the rules of the games very quickly and were excited while playing. We are already thinking of improving the robot game by adding the “if” and “do while” statements. This will make the game suitable to older students, specifically talking about the ages of 10-12 years old.
@InProceedings{MAVRIDIS2016ANI,
author = {Mavridis, A. and Sirivianou, E. and Alexogiannopoulou, V.},
title = {AN INNOVATIVE 3-STEP METHOD OF TEACHING THE BASICS OF PROGRAMMING TO YOUNG PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.0342},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.0342},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {5603-5610}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Mavridis AU - E. Sirivianou AU - V. Alexogiannopoulou
TI - AN INNOVATIVE 3-STEP METHOD OF TEACHING THE BASICS OF PROGRAMMING TO YOUNG PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.0342
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 5603
EP - 5610
ER -
A. Mavridis, E. Sirivianou, V. Alexogiannopoulou (2016) AN INNOVATIVE 3-STEP METHOD OF TEACHING THE BASICS OF PROGRAMMING TO YOUNG PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 5603-5610.
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