Over the last couple of weeks, my 3rd graders have been exploring the Pen Blocks in Scratch. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to encourage some creative coding!
Once the students were familiar with the tools, I introduced them to the "AWESOME SAUCE" challenge! Starting with some basic blocks, could they create their own "recipe" for an amazing design?
I had them start with these blocks, but allowed them to add other blocks once they had started designing. Giving students a small set of blocks is a great way to get the creative process started. They are able to focus on design without being overwhelmed.
I also had them create an "eraser" code for easy clean up between design attempts.
I modeled the activity by creating a random code. At first, it didn't look like much, but I kept adding blocks and asking for their input. After several lack luster results, a really nice design appeared on my screen. I shouted AWESOME SAUCE and the kids cheered. We talked about how the starting code could be planned or random and still produce a fantastic result. Now it was their turn!
The room became focused on creating codes, but most students didn't come up with anything amazing on the first try. After several attempts, I could tell some were ready to give up, but then something amazing happened. Two students started shouting to show off their code and designs. They said look at my AWESOME SAUCE!!! The rest of the room came running and then rushed back to work on their own designs.
I encouraged students to work together and encourage one another. By the end of class we were celebrating both our creativity and our persistence in trying.
I LOVED hearing kids say look at my AWESOME SAUCE! The phrase just added the right fun element to this lesson.
What kind of AWESOME SAUCE will you create??? ;)