Offline Coding Challenge

At the end of the school year, I was asked to help at an “Amazing Race” style challenge for our 4th and 5th-grade students. Specifically, I was asked to do something that was coding related in a 15 minute time window with two teams. My mind began to race as I explored and thought about what I could do in this short period. Having to fit the specific parameters of coding, I worried about logging students into their devices and getting set up, so I began to explore what I could do to make the process more complete. I landed on doing a coding activity offline.

I had an idea and needed to think of the challenge and how to get the code off of the computer screen. I started with thinking that a basic maze would work great. So I designed a maze for my students to follow in Google Drawings. I would use masking tape to lay it out on the floor. I then began searching for the the block code images to be able to print them. I found this amazing set in different formats. I also put together a little guide to help organize the materials and explain the code blocks for students that might not be familiar. Finally, I had to select the blocks that would help my students cover the entire path. Here are the ones that were necessary. 

Overall, the activity went really well! Students loved it. I was able to get a few more signed up for our two-week summer coding camp that we are hosting this year. I would change it so that my “robot” student is blindfolded, as many would walk the path and stick to it. Here are some pictures from the activity.

One Comment

  1. This looks great! I love the downloadable block code pieces!

    I’m not at all surprised that the students found this very engaging. I think your idea for having the “robot” student follow the maze blindfolded is a good one, to better take our natural “error control” tendencies out of the equation.

    I wonder what sort of mazes (and resulting programs) the students would come up with on their own. Definitely looking forward to hearing more about what comes out of the coding camp!

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