Maths Week Coding Fun

Fingal Libraries
by Fingal Libraries on November 3, 2014.

A guest blog by Sabine McKenna, cccSkerries. “It’s Maths Week. You are software developers, and your boss has just given you the job of creating a maths game. She just had time to tell you to ‘Make it fun. And Maths-y,’ before she had to leave for an urgent meeting…” That is the brief I […]

thumbnail views of the children's coding projects

A guest blog by Sabine McKenna, cccSkerries.

“It’s Maths Week. You are software developers, and your boss has just given you the job of creating a maths game. She just had time to tell you to ‘Make it fun. And Maths-y,’ before she had to leave for an urgent meeting…”

That is the brief I give to the eight youngsters aged 7 to 9, who came to Donabate Portrane Library recently on a Saturday morning for a Computer Coding with Scratch Workshop for Maths Week. They considered the brief for a moment, and then the ideas started pouring out.

“There could be a quiz, and when you get it right, you get a prize.”

“Or maybe a maze, and you have to solve maths problems to get to the next level.”

“Or balloons that you have to click.”

“There could be a pony, and…”
The small white board that I have to write down the ideas is soon full. We turn to the interactive whiteboard, fire up the Scratch website (Scratch.mit.edu) and have a think about how we could implement some of their ideas.¬†For the next while, it is quiet in the brand-new tech room. The eight PCs are powered up, and so are the kids in front of them. I go from one coder to the next, as they show me what they’ve done so far, test bits of code and change the costumes (graphics of the objects) or backgrounds.

Libraries have a new literacy to give people access to… digital literacy. And it’s great to see with how much enthusiasm kids from 7 up immerse themselves in this new world. Thanks to a number of national initiatives, combined with the work at local levels, all Fingal libraries have computers available to the public, and many have tech rooms like the one in Donabate.

Computing workshops for children (and adults) aren’t the only things in the digital space which are available in Fingal libraries. There are online magazines and eBooks, courses and more.

After 90 minutes, my eight new friends leave the library, very happy with themselves and the progress they have made. A few had already tried out coding with Scratch, but for many it was a first taste – and they say they can’t wait to try it again.

Would you like to see their creations? Then head over to this website, where you can find the projects the Donabate Portrane kids created on that Saturday in October. Maths-magic, isn’t it?

 

Sabine McKenna is a digital educator and online / social-media coach, based in Skerries. She runs classes and workshops for children and adults as creative computing classes Skerries.