I love the Hour of Code and how students across the world celebrate coding at the end of each calendar year. Regular readers know that I love to spotlight seasonal topics, but I sometimes worry that isolating terrific resources to a month or a week makes it seem like they don’t have a regular place in your classroom.
So on this spring day, I’ll spotlight a handful of coding apps that are perfect for introducing and exploring these concepts in your classroom. Earlier this year you might have seen my features on problem-solving apps or teaching genetics on tablets. These blog posts include the awesome apps from Avokiddo and classroom activities for both topics.
Coding Activities for Kids
In this blog post, we’re going to explore coding activities that leverage the features of the Thinkrolls Apps (there are three!) and DNA Play. Both are available on multiple platforms and great for individual student devices and shared devices both inside and outside of the classroom.
These apps all provide significant educational value, especially around coding principles. They address creative thinking, executive functioning, and conditional logic like cause and effect. When using these apps, students will have to break down complex problems and conceptualize step-by-step solutions. They will practice trial and error and even determine the order of tasks to complete. All of these skills are transferrable to a range of tasks and can connect to your goals this year for coding in the classroom too. Let’s go through a quick overview of these four apps and then make connections to your goals around coding skills.
Thinkrolls Puzzle Apps
As I mentioned above, there are actually three Thinkrolls apps in their series of mobile apps for students. The first app in the series is called Thinkrolls, and it’s available for you to download straight from iTunes, Amazon, and the Google Play stores. This app gives students access to more than 25 Thinkrolls characters and over 200 levels of mazes.
Thinkrolls 2 is the second in the series and is also available on iTunes, Amazon, and the Google Play store. Similar to what you’ll see in the original Thinkrolls app, it has two levels of play and is perfect for students ages three through nine. In Thinkrolls 2, students explore the properties of matter and physics.
The final app in the Thinkrolls series is called Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens. Just like the other two apps in the series, Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens is in the iTunes, Amazon, and the Google Play stores too. This third app in the series includes more than 200 physics puzzles, 12 fairytale castles, and plenty of playful characters your students will love.
Coding Apps for Kids
So where do coding skills come into play with these engaging puzzle apps? When we think about coding in the classroom, this idea can take many forms. From students building an app to driving a robot, the possibilities around the integration of computer science and coding skills into everyday instruction sometimes seem endless!
All of the Thinkrolls apps ask students to work through a variety of puzzles. The chapters move students from one activity to the next and culminate in the coordination of all of the elements. So students will experiment with gravity, heat, buoyancy, speed, friction, elasticity and more. Pulling all of these ideas together, students can enhance logic, spatial cognition, problem-solving, memory, observation and more as they work their way through each level — and each of the three Thinkrolls apps.
How does it work in your classroom? The Thinkrolls apps can track progress in six player profiles. This feature means that students can share devices, such as in a blended learning station rotation model. Alternatively, you might have students access these apps on their own devices and move through at their own pace.
Of course, if you’re not sure that coding skills align with your classroom learning goals right now, you can always recommend these apps to families in a school or class newsletter. Since these apps are available in three favorite app stores, it makes it an excellent choice for sharing with families.
Coding with DNA
Now in addition to Thinkrolls apps mentioned above, you might want to use the DNA Play app from Avokiddo in coding explorations this school year. If you are exploring this science concept already with students, you know that DNA code can translate into conversations on coding and how a small switch in code can have a significant impact on a final result.
With the DNA Play mobile app, students can create and mutate genes as they create their very own monsters. Students first start with a basic figure of a monster. Then they move through a series of steps to complete the gene puzzles. Just like the Thinkrolls apps, DNA Play is available on mobile devices, and you can download it on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Store.
Students can explore ideas related to coding by tweaking the genes of their monsters and moving them around to cause mutations. Similar to the other apps from Avokiddo, students can create their own creatures working independently or as they share a screen with a classmate.
Ready to explore coding concepts with your students? Head over to Avokiddo’s website to learn more!