A look back on the Code Week 2019 Student Meet: developing projects to protect the environment in Malta

During Code Week 2019,
students from Malta, Finland and Spain participated in an online meeting where
they presented the Code Week activities they had participated in and talked
about their overall Code Week experience

In Malta, Sarah, Andrea, Jacob and Chloe
developed a project centred on the need to protect the environment, learning to
work with Scratch and then building their own prototypes. In Finland, Sofi and
Rasmus taught other students, did the CodyColor
Battle Royale and an Hour of Code project. Lucía, Sara and Laura from
Spain designed a video game in Scratch, and designed and created a Joystick with Makey
and inexpensive

In this blog post, we learn more about the
students’ and teacher’s experience in Malta, with teacher James Callus and
students Sara, Andrea, Jacob and Chloe.


James, you are Sarah,
Andrea, Jacob and Chloe’s teacher. Could you along with your students tell us
more about the activities organized in your school during Code Week 2019?

James: During the first part of their
project, students used the Scratch Junior App to create a dialogue. Their
objective was to make the other students in their school aware about the
importance to look after our environment.

Jacob: While creating my dialogue in Scratch
Jr. I was all the time thinking about all the things we can do to save our
planet. It makes me very sad to think about all the animals that might become
extinct due to climate change.

Sarah: We wanted to find a solution to environmental problems
and decided to build a robot, which will help us to look after the environment.
We will discuss our ideas with all the students during assembly. Maybe one day
our dream will come true and our robots will really help future generations to
look after the environment.


James, how do you
think that this project or activities that you have done with your students
help to develop your students’ skills or competences?

James: First by working together as a
group and conducting research about climate change and the environment, they learned
to collaborate and gather new knowledge. Together they created a project in
Scratch Jr in which they did a digital story together. Then they focused on
building the robot, which involved interpersonal skills. They had to
communicate, plan, to construct and code together. These are all competences, I
think, are necessary for today. And they were really excited and a lot of ideas
came out throughout the project.

Andrea: I really enjoy using my school
tablet to create digital stories. When I create  stories, I always think about different ways
to improve my work. Scratch Jr. is one of my favourite apps since I can code to
make my characters move on screen.

Are parents supportive
of these kind of activities?

James: Yes, parents are very supportive. Last
year, we started Family coding in school and at the public library. We had so
many people interested that we couldn’t meet all the demand. This year we are
going to repeat the same programme where parents, together with their children
are invited to school after school hours. The Family Code nights are the first
step towards that direction and I can assure you that it’s fun seeing parents and
children, and sometimes even grandparents, coding. It’s an experience I cherish
it and I look forward to next year’s event.

What is the impact you
have seen in your students when you work with this kind of activities to learn
about the environment?

James: First of all, with robotics and with
Scratch Jr. I like watch them think, collaborate, discuss and create things.
And most importantly, they use coding to create something that works that they
have planned together. That is the most rewarding part of every project.


What would you say to teachers who might be
considering using Scratch in their classroom with younger kids?

Chloe: Scratch Jr. is very easy and fun
to use and I would like to tell all the teachers in the world to encourage
their students to start coding with Scratch Jr. They should use Scratch Jr. so
the students can make their own stories and make them feel like they are
writing their own book. And they can code and they can make all the characters
move, talk, they can even disappear. It’s encouraging for students to know when
they grow up they could learn how to code and it is really useful.

James: Start as soon as possible. Plan
small projects first and let the children explore, be autonomous and discover
the tool themselves to create more engaging stories which they can share with
their class and the rest of their schools. Coding is for everyone! Coding is
for all and coding is fun!

Are you interested in knowing more? Head over
to the full Student Meet here!

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