Turn the Bot Around
Once my 1st graders were comfortable pairing Dash to the iPad, making Dash go to “sleep”, and adding move forward and backward blocks, I knew it was time for more.
I decided to have the students focus on turning and not on having Dash move forward or backward for the beginning of this lesson.
They placed Dash facing the back wall of my room and coded Dash to turn Left 90. They were excited to see that Dash was now facing a different wall. They repeated this process, but had Dash turn Left 180.
I knew this simple lesson was a powerful one when one 1st grade girl said, “That 180 was two 90 turns put together!” And another student made the connection to the Teaching Loops with the Beats Project lesson we did earlier this year. She said, "Dash is turning just like we turned in our dance loop!"
I then asked them to make predictions for Left 270 and 360. It was amazing how quickly they understood where Dash would face at the end of each turn. Next, we talked about making Dash turn right and do the same movements.
I was exciting to see lots of light bulbs going off for students. Left and right in coding can be very hard when a character is 2 Dimensional. Coding and seeing Dash move in relation to the room really brought the concepts home to students.
I created a handout for groups to record their findings. I didn’t use the handout with all of my classes, but it does help to give students in groups of 3-4 different jobs to be accountable for.
Once they were comfortable with turns, I let them have free time to explore all of the blocks we had learned and add in sounds and other fun blocks.
Do you have an angle or coding lesson involving turns that you use often? I would love to hear about it!