A Warm Welcome to Game Programming in Scratch World!
For Children entering Grades 3 to 6 (approximate)
Brickineers camps are motivating and engaging and have become the summer highlight of many youngsters!
Requirements for Game Programming: (1) a computer at home, (2) time set aside for your child to play and work on games at home, (3) child will be entering Grades 3 to 6 with an affinity for arithmetic. Brickineers classes are separated by knowledge and not by age. Game programming involves arithmetic and children should have a basic understanding of addition, fractions and multiplication. Grade 2 graduates with exposure to fractions and multiplication will be able to learn the necessary arithmetic during the class only if parents can reinforce these skills at home.
Basic computer literacy is mandatory as this is not a ‘Learn how to use a computer ‘ class. Children who cannot navigate using a mouse or touchpad and who are not familiar with a keyboard will find this class to be too fast. The prerequisites may seem strict for a summer camp or classes, however, they are in place so that we can have a very productive experience with no child left behind. If your child does not have computer skills, please have them acquire them soon so they can join the digital experience.
The purpose of the Game Programming classes is to teach logical thinking, planning and programming skills. This class emphasizes the planning aspect as that is where the intelligence lies. The ability to plan is the foundation not only for good programming, but for every branch of science, medicine, business and engineering.
Computer gaming is used as motivation for children to practice planning and to learn how to break problems down into modules in order to solve them. Children will also learn how to visualize programming structures that fit inside their plans, and how order them in sequences to solve problems. Using knowledge of programming structures, children will first scaffold solutions and then fill them in with programming language instructions and data to make a working program. There will be a certain amount of ‘copy and modify’ existing solutions to problems, as that is a valued method of learning how to program. Planning and analyzing games, however, is not a skill that can be gained by the ‘copy and modify’ technique, and that is where this camp or class has value for your child’s development. Our children have learned how to create (spider) web maps, ship idea sails, or flow diagrams, with main ideas before writing a short story in Language Arts classes. This camp gives the opportunity to reinforce what has been learned in school, transfer these skills to a new subject area, and to advance planning to a new level of understanding.
Your child will also join the worldwide community of millions of Scratch programmers and be part of the maker elite. There are many other benefits to learning Scratch and game programming. For example, learning how to program in Scratch prepares your child for all other programming languages. Another benefit is that the ability to visualize problems and solutions is a skill that transfers to many other disciplines, and its importance cannot be overestimated. Fortunately Scratch’s visual drag and drop method makes it a joy to learn programming and easy to learn how to visualize structures used for recognizing and solving problems. Lastly, programs and graphics can be saved to flash drives and taken home where they can be improved and used to reflect on what we have learned during the day. Scratch lessons are hard to lose or misplace…
Will your child be a perfect planner and thinker after participating in this camp or class? Probably not as it takes years of practice to become a thinker. One thing is certain, it is never too early to start. That is the motivation behind why this class is being offered.
In the Lost Interview with Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder said, “I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”