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By: Lisa Floyd and Steven Floyd

 

One of the best ways to effectively incorporate coding into your daily routine is to ensure students feel that it is an authentic and meaningful learning experience.

 

In this task, we suggest having students code the Olympic rings.  The Olympic Games provide us with many opportunities to discuss the science/psychology/love of sport, culture, geography, goal setting, marketing…. there really is no end to the cross-curricular connections that can be made.

 

For this particular task, we provide you with guided materials (see below) to get students started and also some challenges to raise the ceiling for those who are ready. 

 

As you incorporate such tasks, you will become more and more comfortable with coding in your classroom, and as your students begin to learn the basics, you will continue to come up with new ideas to incorporate coding in meaningful ways.

 

The beauty of coding, is there really is no limit to what you can create.  As Mitch Resnick suggests, coding provides wide walls to appeal to all different student interests.

 

Lisa has included Scratch code for making the Olympic rings, but ideally, you will have students write their own code. You can see that Lisa made her own blocks to organize the code and to be more efficient, but this could be considered an extension.  She did not add some of the other possible extensions which might include the Olympic Fanfare, adding information about what each ring represents, etc.

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/202061607/#editor

 

Depending on the students’ past coding experiences, there is an opportunity here to say “go code the Olympic rings” without giving students much initial assistance… watch as they work together to determine the proper colours, math concepts required to code a circle, how the Cartesian plane on the Scratch stage works, meaning of each ring…individual strengths start to shine through and different skill sets (knowledge of sport, artistic abilities, understanding of math ideas) are valued in projects like this. Effective guided questions can play an important role in drawing out key ideas (What does each colour symbolize?  Why were the rings created?  What are the number of degrees required to code a circle?).

 

You might opt to share the guided materials with students or parts of them with a scaffolded approach (in the past we’ve printed separate “tips” on cards to give out as required).  A link to a shared doc has been provided so you may make a copy and edit as you see fit.  We consider ourselves Just in Time teachers as we walk around listening to discussions and ready to provide support as required.

 

Additional Olympic Games Learning and Coding Opportunities

 

The wonderful thing about using the Olympics Games as a context for coding are the number of connections that can be made to a wide variety of subject areas…

 

What about having your students:

  • code a map of the world, pinpoint countries involved
  • create a program that keeps track of medal counts
  • code the years the Summer and Winter Games are held
  • code their own opening ceremonies animation – fireworks, country flags
  • code a simulation of a bobsled course (use barriers and movement of sprites)
  • create an interactive poster with makey makey and Scratch highlighting specific countries, history of Olympics, specific sports (see Derek Tangredi’s videos for a how to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTQD782d-e8&index=73&list=UUEnEUi2Ct1Oldy4SPCY3klw)
  • consider environmental/economic impacts of hosting the games

 

Guided Materials for Olympic Games Rings:

 

Link to PDF

Link to Shared Document

 

Share with us on the Teach Ontario Community in the comment thread below and/or on Twitter (#TeachOntario) how you incorporate coding and the Olympic Games into your own classes.

We continue to update and refresh the material on the site. Previous content will always be available here or by clicking on the Content tab in the dark blue bar across the top of this hub's main page.

 

We are thankful to the wonderful educators across Ontario who have contributed and supported the materials on this hub. We have tried to provide both specific tasks, as well as big picture, implementation-based resources.  We always welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Lisa Floyd picture

 

You may find that the examples and instructions on this hub work perfectly for your teachers and students, or you may alter and "remix" some of these activities.

 

Our hope is that you're recognizing the wide variety of ways that coding and computational thinking can be integrated into our classrooms for the benefit of our students.

 

If you are just getting started on your coding and computational thinking journey, Steve Floyd pictureyou may want to check out the Coding and Computational Thinking Webinar that we hosted in January. The video is available here.

 

As a reminder, if you have questions or comments or if you would like to submit material to share, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are excited about the wonderful things going on in Ontario, and we're excited about the future of coding and computational thinking in our classrooms!

 

If you would like to contribute or make suggestions for this hub, please do not hesitate to message

Lisa & Steve through our TeachOntario accounts or by using the Ask A Question widget in the right panel of the page!

 

Steve and Lisa Floyd

 

 


 

Bios

 

Steve Floyd has 14 years experience teaching computer science and computer engineering in Ontario. He was the recipient of the 2017 CSTA Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science and has worked on a number of coding and computational thinking projects with elementary and high school teachers across Ontario. Steve is currently pursuing his PhD at Western University where he is investigating Computer Science and Computational Thinking in K-12 education. Steve is also an elearning course writer and developer and has worked closely with both the Ministry of Education and private companies to help develop digital citizenship and financial literacy apps for students.

 

Lisa Floyd is passionate about introducing students and teachers to the world of coding. She recently completed her Masters in Mathematics Education.  She is a Computational Thinking in Math and Science Education instructor at Western University’s Faculty of Education, for which she has received an award for excellence in teaching in the undergraduate program. Lisa is on a leave of absence from the Thames Valley District School Board, where she has many years experience teaching secondary Computer Science, Math and Science. As a thought-leader on STEM education, and Director of Research and Inquiry at Fair Chance Learning, Lisa is currently working with ministries and school districts sharing her passion for creative coding and digital making tools with students and teachers across Canada.