Coding Curriculums: Part 3

November 18, 2015 by wendy

Learning Outcomes for Key Stages 1 and 2
Learning outcomes in computer science (CS), information technology (IT), and digital literacy (DL) for key stages 1 and 2 in A Guide for Primary Teachers.

In our last post, we dove into the National Curriculum in England and their guide for primary teachers, and we looked at how teachers working with children between ages 5 and 7 can introduce coding in their classrooms. This week, we move beyond key stage 1 and into key stage 2 to see what concepts and skills should be taught in classrooms with children between ages 7 and 11.

Reading and writing more complex programs

At this point, students use logical reasoning to not only predict the behaviour of simple programs, but also explain how they work and detect and fix errors. They also progress from writing simple programs to writing more advanced programs that accomplish specific goals. They need to break down their programs into smaller parts and use higher-level concepts such as conditionals, loops, and variables. For example, to build a game in Scratch, they need to create the background, sprites, animations, and sounds. They also need to use conditionals to implement the rules of the game and variables to track points.

Controlling physical systems

MaKey MaKey Product Photo: Play Doh Mario
MaKey MaKey Product Photo: Play Doh Mario by jayahimsa is licensed under CC by 2.0

Key stage 1 introduces the idea that computers are everywhere. They’re embedded in devices that exist in our homes, in our cars, and even outside. To provide further insight into this idea, students should have the opportunity to experiment with programming sensors, switches, motors, and lights. For example, students can use Scratch to control the motors included in the LEGO Education WeDo Construction Set. Another option is to connect the MaKey MaKey to a computer and use it as the controller for their Scratch projects.

Understanding computer networks

We use computer networks, such as the Internet, everyday, and so it’s important for students to understand how they work.

  • How are computers connected to each other?
  • How do they send information back and forth?
  • What do computer networks allow us to do?

When we use the Internet, we often use search engines to find information.

  • How do we use search engines effectively to find what we want?
  • Why are some pages ranked higher than others?
  • How do we know which sources are credible?

Putting it all together

Finally, students need to be able to combine their new skills and knowledge. They should use the Internet with a variety of software and digital devices, such as cameras and audio recorders, to create projects that accomplish specific goals. Most importantly, they need to understand how to be a responsible digital citizen, that is, how to stay safe online, and how to respect others and other people’s work.

Coding for secondary teachers

Next time, we’ll start looking at the guide for secondary teachers with a focus on children between ages 11 and 14 in key stage 3.