The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Information Learning Technology

Coding in the Junior School

In its simplest form, coding is telling the computer what you want it to do in a series of steps. Understanding the basics of code is one of many tools that boys can have in their digital literacy tool belt. The coding programmes we run at Scotch play an important role as they are problem solving, collaborative based activities. Boys learn to:

  • Work systematically to solve the problems;
  • Communicate with others;
  • Predict and draw conclusions;
  • Analyse small parts of systems and find relationships;
  • Think creatively and experiment with solutions.

These skills can be applied to any coding languages. In fact, they are transferable to any workplace, both now and in the future, not just a programming environment.

There are lots of opportunities for boys to learn different coding languages in the Junior school. In the Early years, the coding can be done with Scratch Junior, Beebots and Probots.

Year 3 and 4 boys had the opportunity to connect with a Code Academy app, Coding with the Foos, which introduces foundational computer science concepts, such as sequencing, loops, commands, conditional statements and even presenting debugging in a fun way.

The Year 5 students have the chance to work in a club with Mr Wells and Ms Louden on Python. Python is a computer programming language that lets you work more quickly than other programming languages. Through Python, boys created games such as Rock, Scissors and Paper, Turtle Race and attempted to design their own maze game.

There are also opportunities to embed coding into the units of inquiry. The Year 4 boys were introduced to Swift Playgrounds as part of their HTWW unit at the end of last term. Mr Stewart is working with Maths extension boys this term, coding Sphero robots to create various shapes, looking at angles, diameter and area of shapes.

When I talk to the boys about their coding tasks, the don't refer to the code they have written, just the problems they have solved, the solution they eventually found, and all the trial and error they encountered. The ability to look at a problem creatively and find solutions through trial and error is a great skill to have for life.

Mrs Amanda Ritchie
ILT Integration Specialist