One of my big goals this year has been to make my classes more interactive. I want to get kids involved and not be just passive listeners. Surprisingly students seem resistant to participate. They like sitting back and pretending to pay attention. That's not very good for learning though. Yesterday I tried something different. I’d like to say it was well planned and laid out in advance but it wasn’t. It sort of just happened. But it worked out well so I thought I would share it. Maybe someone can help me make it better for next year.
So hear is the set up. We have about two weeks left to the school year and I’ve been introducing my freshmen to coding. Lately we have been discussing loops. My idea was some code that simulated a horse race multiple times while counting which horse won the most times. I decide to talk about coin flipping first.
I assigned four roles for students:
- A student to flip coins and report heads or tails.
- A student to count how many flips happened and call stop after the 10th flip
- A student to keep track of heads
- A student to keep track of tails
We ran through several iterations of students flipping coins and having my “variables” report results.
Next we wrote some code together during which I made frequent references to the initial people based “code.” We translated the various student roles into variables, actions (like flipping and counting the for loop), and let’s not forget displaying results. It seemed to work well as the level of involvement in creating the code was up from usual. We’ll see about retention today but I am hopeful. I want to find more ways to do similar things. Suggestions anyone?