Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

History + Coding = Innovation

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Snapshot

Wednesday, June 26, 1:30–2:30 pm
Location: 201BC

Presentation 1 of 2
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A 3D Printer Does Not a Makerspace Make: Building Makerspaces for Learning

Erin Daly   Jon Japha  
When coding is taught in schools, it is often locked inside the walls of the math class. Our project embeds coding into our core curriculum and is deeply interdisciplinary, integrating history, math, art and coding. We'll describe our project to teach and use Scratch in the history classroom.

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: If attendees want to complete the Scratch mini-lesson, they would need access to the internet.

Attendees would want to have a QR reader if they want to access additional information.

Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project-, problem- and challenge-based learning
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: Language arts, Math
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
  • Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Our math department has made a commitment to learning Scratch and teaching a two-week coding unit. In the past, this was done only in math class, and students were unable to make connections between coding and anything outside of the math classroom. Our project joins history and math classes, and by bringing coding into the history classroom, students can start to understand that coding exists all around them. The cross-disciplinary project has become an extremely popular one for the students at our school.

At the end of our presentation, participants will have a deeper understanding of how we created this project, why we did so, and what students have gotten from it. We are hoping that by sharing what we have learned and how we and our students have benefitted from the project, others will be inspired to collaborate and integrate coding into classes beyond math.
We will explain the educational philosophy that underpinned why we chose to teach both coding and history as a cross-disciplinary project.
We will explain the logistical challenges we faced, including collaborating with a number of different teachers across departments, providing choices to the students that they had never seen before, meeting students where they are in their coding experience, and creating new rubrics for the final projects.
We will explain how and why we used Scratch. This was an introduction to coding, and we will show how the students developed skills and confidence using the software. We will also show some of the final products so that participants can see the results of this project.
We will share how this project empowered students. They worked together to figure out problems and provided feedback on each other’s projects.
We will discuss how we graded students in this project. Instead of simply evaluating the final project, students were evaluated on their creativity, persistence and adaptability during the process. We will also show the self-evaluations and discuss how we relied on these to assess the students.
We will briefly demonstrate the lesson plans to show how the students received instruction in both Scratch and the history topics (early American presidents).
We will also show the students’ schedule for the two weeks of the project so participants can get a sense of what this project was like from the students’ perspective.
We will discuss with participants ways that we continue to tweak this project to improve from year to year.
Finally, we will show evidence of the success of our project in two forms. First, we will display some of the final products, so that participants can get a sense of what this project produced. Second, we will show the results of the student assessments to show what the students felt about the project, what they learned, and how they grew.


Our presentation will incorporate a number of different platforms.

A detailed Powerpoint will frame the presentation and provide important visuals.
We will also have a handout with QR codes for more detailed information that participants can access through their personal devices -- either during the session or at a later date. For example, audience members will be allowed to see the schedule that a student sees, or watch a video that was available to the students.

We will show a few examples of our students’ final projects. We will teach a mini-Scratch lesson, where the audience will feel empowered to eventually create their own project.

There will also be time for questions, and we will provide prompts for peer-to-peer discussion.

Broken down by time, the presentation will be as follows:
Introduction and explanation of the basics of the project - 10 minutes
Interactive mini-Scratch intro lesson - 5 minutes
Peer-to-peer discussions about the project, how it can be improved, how it can be modified for different classrooms - 5 minutes
Display of student work - 5 minutes
Final questions and answers - 5 minutes

Supporting research

Importance of teaching coding in class:

Why coding should be taught in schools:

How Scratch works and why it’s a good way to learn coding:

Positive outcomes from interdisciplinary teaching:

More on benefits of interdisciplinary teaching:

More [+]


Erin Daly, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School
Jon Japha, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School

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