From robots to Minecraft, there are thousands of different ways to introduce programming to your class in fun and interactive ways for the upcoming Hour of Code (December 8-14). While most apps and tutorials do require internet connected computers or mobile devices, it does not mean that schools without this level of technology cannot get involved. In fact, coding with paper can be an even more engaging and meaningful way to introduce students to early programming concepts.
The object of the Space Race game is to navigate your rocket ship safely through the galaxy of aliens and satellites, all the way to the moon. Using the pre-made coding blocks students can create a ‘program’ of directions for their rocket to follow and complete its mission.
I would encourage you to have your students work together as pairs or groups on this exercise. One student can set up the ‘course’ using the printed character blocks (Earth, moon, aliens, satellites). Their partner can then attempt to program the solution using the printed code blocks, and together they can ‘execute’ the program to navigate the ship. This not only gets your students working together but it will help them practice some of the collaborative aspects of coding and problem solving.
- Print copies of both of the below files for each student or group
- Have your students cut out the objects and code blocks from sheet 1
- Using the cut out objects, place objects on the display (sheet 2) to create a course
- Using the cut out code blocks, create directions for the rocket to follow
- Run the program!
Objects and Code Blocks (sheet 1)
Use this sheet to cut out each individual object to place on the display and each code block to place on the console.
Display and Console (sheet 2)
This sheet is used for the gameplay. Use the display to set up a course and use the console to assemble the program.
Coding with Paper: Links and Additional Material
- Computer Science Unplugged – More lesson ideas for coding without computers
- My Robotic Friends – One of the best unplugged coding activities for students
- Hour of Code – Official site for the Hour of Code
- Hour of Code Resources – Flyers, videos, posters and more
- Code.org – Resources, tutorials and more for the Hour of Code
Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, Sweetie187.