Intermediate English

Computer Science with First Graders, part 6: Showing our work

As our games became more and more playable, we started to turn our attention to showing our work. After all, media needs an audience! The last few sessions revolved around our audience and thinking about what they would need to discover, play and enjoy our work.

Today’s learning: Software engineers show their work

While I know many coders who just love coding, they don’t usually do it as an academic exercise. Coding, like writing, needs a purpose, a product, and an audience. For this project, it was really important that our work didn’t stay confined to our classroom. The prospect of a real audience motivated the students, guided our decisions, and kept the project grounded in reality. As always, click the thumbnails to download the resources that we used for these sessions.


Step 1: More testing and bug-fixing

We really wanted to release our best work, so we put a lot of effort into the final test-fix-test sessions. Again, I divided each group into ‘testers’ and ‘coders’, and made sure each student had a turn playing each role. As well as testing and fixing their games as individual groups, we also met as a whole class to test each game, look for bugs, and suggest ways to improve the game. This whole-class ‘code review’ really helped to pool the knowledge of the whole class and to get those final few bugs fixed in time. Click the thumbnail to download our tester checklists and tester reports.


Step 2: Adding danger!

After our whole-class tests, we decided that the games were still lacking some challenge. To make them more exciting, we decided to add a ‘scary sprite’ who would chase our main sprite and add another element to the game design. As a class, we looked at the available scripts and worked to find a way to add code for the scary sprite. Click here to download display blocks of the code we used, or here to see my demonstration game with the scary sprite in action. Make sure to click ‘see inside’ to see how the code for the scary sprite is put together.


Step 3: Marketing

Once our scary sprites were added, and our games had passed the testers’ final inspections, we were ready to publish our games online. However, the internet is a big place, and it’s no good publishing a game that no one will ever find. For the final session, students spent a day working in the ‘marketing department’, making posters and accompanying materials for their games. Click here to download the character sheets, game instructions, and explanations of the code that our marketers made for our wall display.


Step 4: The big reveal!

For our last session, we invited an audience of other students, teachers, and parents to our ‘game development studio’. We displayed each group’s marketing materials, posters, and signs around the room and handed out flyers with the URL of each group’s game on. Each group used the class projector to show off and demo their game, and took questions on the game development process from the audience. Finally, we pressed the ‘share’ button on each group’s scratch accounts, making the games available to anyone online. Take a look – here, here, and here!


So that’s the end of our coding unit for now… Have you taught coding with young students? Leave a comment or link up below!


You might also like…


Computer Science with First Graders, part 2: Kodable and Fuzzes

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Computer Science with First Graders, part 3: Programming with Scratch

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Computer Science with First Graders, part 4: Adding features

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