There is plenty of research out there showing computer science is a really important skill for students to learn early, just like other STEM subjects! The trouble for educators is, there's only so much time in a day to teach all of these important subjects, especially during a pandemic! We gathered the stories of three Unruly educators, each with a unique vision of how to incorporate technology and computer science in their classrooms during virtual or hybrid-learning. Each of these teachers has a different role within their school but all of them are passionate about incorporating computer science into their existing curriculum. We are excited to share what they are up to!
Share your Unruly Community story with us: Email email@example.com and let us know how coding games have changed your classroom!
Christine Danhoff is a Technology Integration Specialist at Genoa Elementary in Ohio. Christine loves to find new ways to get her students excited about computer science and coding. Before Splats, she worked with the STEM teacher at her school to incorporate lessons on Code.org that focused on teaching students the basics of block-based coding. Christine first heard about Splats on Twitter and won one of their contests where they were giving away a 12-Splat 1 Year membership. Her prize also included a virtual lesson hosted by the Unruly team. During the lesson, students worked through coding the games Red Light, Green Light and Four Corners, and then tested them out with plenty of running, jumping, and stomping.
Christine’s biggest takeaway from Splats so far has been seeing how excited and engaged her students are when coding the games and activities. At first, the kids didn’t even realize they were learning computer science, but after working through the game-building process, they recognized that they were creating code just like professional game programmers. Students were even asking where they could buy Splats, and if they could continue with virtual learning activities at home, which is music to any educator’s ear.
“That is such an awesome thing to hear from students when they want to voluntarily go home and continue their learning process!” Danhoff exclaimed.
Genoa Elementary is grateful to be having in-person classes this year, but Christine is confident that Splats area great virtual learning tool as well. Instead of coding in school, students can use their Chromebooks with the Splats web-based app to code and play virtual games on Zoom or at home with their family - no physical Splats required! As long as the school continues to work in person, Christine will be co-teaching STEM and planning with other educators to integrate more Splat activities into courses such as PE, music, and the general ed classroom.
The CDC says physical fitness has an overwhelming number of benefits for kids, from strengthening muscles and bones to reducing anxiety and building confidence. But what happens in a virtual learning environment, where physical movement might be harder to come by?
David Kober, a PreK - 4th grade PE teacher, is embracing the challenge of getting his students physically active from home with the help of Unruly Splats coding games.
In 2019, David introduced Splats programming to his students as a way to bring STEM into his PE curriculum, incorporating pre-loaded games such as Whack-A-Mole and Red Splat Green Splat. Now that classes no longer meet in person, David has instructed his students to download the web app from home, which they can use to code games and play virtually! He credits the Splatting without Splats guide, a guide to Coding with Splats virtually, as the key to his transition to virtual learning with Splats.
In the virtual learning environment, David has introduced the Found Art Sculpture game. In this game, students have a limited amount of time to find specific colored objects around their home based on what the randomized code displays on Splats (red, green, purple, or blue!). Then, they have to use these objects to make a sculpture out of them. He is excited to pull more coding games and activities from the Unruly STEM and Fitness Lesson Plan and put them into practice this year.
David describes Unruly Splats as “technology without the technology”, meaning students are learning how to code without even realizing how impactful these fun lessons are to their future development with coding and STEM.
“The kids already love the splats, so engagement is no problem. And now that there are more games and activities, I am excited to use them in person when my kids return to school,” he said.
Lori Smith, the technology specialist at Sterling Middle School, is another teacher facing the challenge of new forms of learning. At Sterling, students remain in a single classroom, and the teachers move from class to class. To make up for students’ loss of movement and engagement, Lori has been bringing Splats into the reorganized classrooms.
“One of the mottos of Unruly Splats is "did you learn something and did you have fun doing it?" That fits my philosophy as a teacher, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to implement them into my curriculum,” she said.
Using the Splats web app, students code active games on their Chromebooks and then demonstrate their work by getting the whole class up and moving. Popular game choices include 4-Corners, 2 Truths and A lie, and Whack-a-Mole.
But Lori doesn’t want to stop at the basics. She is planning to host a Splats-Olympics using games the students have created.
“I want to teach the students the basics of coding and let them create their own games,” she said. “I can’t wait for them to have the chance to experiment with the web app on their own.”
Even more creatively, Lori has been using Splats blocks as a quizzing method. Dividing her class into teams, she assigned each group a Splat block and created a code to randomly select a group to answer questions. Correct answers earned points, while wrong answers helped their competitors, and the students became very invested in the game-show learning activity.
Do you have a story of Splats in the Classroom you would like to share? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!