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Engineer Your Code: Coding Multiple Robotics in One Program

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Wednesday, December 2, 2:30–3:20 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Jared Mader  
Ben Smith  

Block-based coding is a perfect transition for students to learn how coding can be seen on a computer screen to how it can move physical objects. Bring your device to control and code spheros, drones, Sam Labs, micro:bit and more all in one program.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: No accounts will be needed. We will use Workbench Platform which is a web based tool.
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Objectives: Participants will take away specific activities and tools for employing block based coding. In addition, they will understand the connection between block based coding and the CSTA standards and where it fits into their curriculum.
1. Overview of the CSTA Standards & Computational Thinker Standard from ISTE
2. Look at Block Based Coding Commands
3. Use Workbench Platform to code a Parrot Drone, Micro:bit, Sam Labs RGB Light and Sphero Sprk+ in one program.
- Examples include drones, robots, 3D printing, etc.
Coding is a critical skill for students. PA has a tremendous shortage of computer science professionals. Block-based coding offers the opportunity for students to move from the screen to moving real objects. This connection to the real world offers a critical catalyst for student learning.
The challenge that will be presented asks participants to use the Sprk+ in freefall to trigger the drone to take off, Micro:bit to flash SOS, and the RGB light to flash on and off.


Introduction to Block Coding (10 minutes)
- review of the CS practices
Engage in block coding activities (20 minutes)
- using workbench platform to code
Choosing a block coding tool (5 minutes)
- what are the look fors in a product
Moving from Block to Text (15 minutes)
- students create a word log for text coding
- student guiding documents
Using BlocksCAD to create STL files (20 minutes)
- Moving towards creating your own gcode files
Communicating computational thinking and circling back to CS practices (10 minutes)
Articulate the engineering design process as it applies to computer science (10 minutes)

Supporting research

Bau, D., Bau, D. A., Dawson, M., & Pickens, C. (2015, June). Pencil code: block code for a text world. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 445-448). ACM.

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Jared Mader, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12
ISTE Certified Educator
Ben Smith, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12
ISTE Certified Educator

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