I’d like to write some more about how it’s going, teaching the Beauty and Joy of Computing to middle school students. (Here is my post, Good First Day Teaching BJC Middle School, from the beginning of the year.)
St. Perpetua School
I teach computer science to grades 6–8 at St. Perpetua School in Lafayette, CA. Students start at our class web page. I see them Friday mornings and I’ve had about 23 sessions with each grade, in 40 or 45 minute class periods.
Feedback from the kids has been positive. Some of their favorite lessons have had to do with surveys, images, and making music.
It’s been great fun playing with the hardware, toys and craft supplies that have been shipped to me in preparation for the hardware unit. I’ve spent a lot of time, by myself and with the students, playing with Hot Wheels tracks, micro:bits and servo motors.
One of the “toys” whose real purpose will be revealed as the hardware unit is further developed, is a battery-powered fan. I’ve had an idea to combine the fan with a distance sensor to blow a ping pong ball up an incline, or a car up a track. I came up with this, brought it to school, and explained it to the kids.
The Athenian School
I teach in the summer and after-school programs at The Athenian School in Danville, CA. Last Fall I taught a class on making an adventure game, and we used Snap!, but not the BJC curriculum. In the winter session I taught Fun with Coding and Electronics, where we used some of the BJC hardware but not the curriculum. Starting next month, I will be teaching a class called—guess what‽—The Beauty and Joy of Computing.