The goal of this activity is to build critical thinking skills and excitement for Computer Science / Computational Thinking, while laying a foundation of fundamental programming concepts. By scaffolding basic concepts like sequencing and algorithms in an unplugged activity, students who are intimidated by computers can still build a foundation of understanding. In this lesson, students will learn how to develop an algorithm and encode it into a program.By "programming" one another to draw pictures, students experience some of the core concepts of programming in a fun and accessible way. The class will start by having students view a video of a simple program demonstrating how to develop instructions for building a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Students will start with simple shapes, and progress to the coding of a specific drawing that other students will then try to replicate (“running the program”). If there is a desire to have a more of a Math slant on the lesson, the drawing could take place on graph paper. Students would then use the coordinates to complete the drawing.
After completing background research on what it was like to live during the colonial times students will be placed in a Minecraft world where they will have to collaborate with a group of classmates to build a colony that provides food and protection since the game will be played in survival mode.
Students will explore the opportunities and challenges of using renewable energy by selecting a Minecraft Biome and developing a home that utilizes the unique characteristics of that biome to create energy. The lesson is intended to be completed in two different parts. In Part 1, students will learn about how Clean Energy sources can be different based on the biome. They will also familiarize themselves with Minecraft. In Part 2, students will select a specific Minecraft world (6 different biomes) and will design and build a home that uses a renewable energy source unique to that biome.
In this lesson students will be able to identify that computers, like the solar system, complete predictable actions based on a set of variables. Students will learn about the solar system via Scratch. They will explore block coding and computational thinking practices as they utilize Scratch as a tool for creativity, expression and learning about the Solar System.