Do you believe? Do you think it is good to believe? Since what age do you tell your kids that there is no Santa Claus?
For already several last years, I consider myself an adult. In my understanding a grown-up is a person who can be responsible for others and who attempts to lead the win-win strategy with everyone. I watch myself; I watch others’ behavior and I compare to find out the best ways and viewpoints.
Last time I decided to try to teach programming to the little ones not just in an interesting and easy to accept way, but to make a fairy tale in which kids would be the main actors and coding - the most emotional and so memorable part.
The pirate fairy tale
Once upon a time in a far-far-away galaxy there was an enchantress. She saw a group of kids with her magic ball. They were amicable nice children, with interests and keen to knowledge and programming in specific, so she decided to give them a robot who would be their friend and helper. She also decided to join the kids for the time while they learn how it works.
The story has begun, kids got into it and started treating me as enchantress, play with BB-8 and ask about its features. The costume helped. When everyone had a chance to touch the robot and feel how it works, we continued.
Kids had a treasure: tangerines and candies. The fairy night was coming and so they hid it. In order not to forget where the treasure was, they wrote a message on BB-8, with the location of the treasure. After, went to sleep.
It’s nice to make the breaks after activity, even if it’s interesting, helps to organise the little ones, they remind always moving electrons when super active. Even to sit for a moment and pretend calmness helps a lot.
While everyone was sleeping, the pirate, who was hiding and watched the kids’ play, stole the robot as the source of the information where the treasure was. When everyone got up, they found BB-8 wasn’t there. The pirate showed up and said that now he was the owner of not just the robot, but also of the treats. Yet, if the kids want to get it back, they are to implement what the pirate wants and maybe come up with interesting ideas of how to make him happy.
At this moment the kids are emotional. They had the BB-8 (kindly Bibik), now it’s not theirs, they had the treasure and now they can lose it. That’s just the great moment to learn to program the robot because the memories will stay for long time. Besides this is the moment to teach kids how to behave in such a situation. The best would be to calm the offender down and relax him. In such a state it’s possible to deal and get what they want.
Depending on the level of kids, the tasks differ. I’ll propose several for the beginners.
As soon as the kids agreed to please the pirate, he started giving them the tasks.
- I had a dog in the childhood who I loved a lot. I want you to make the robot come to me, bark and run away.
- I want him to make it many times and sometimes mew instead of barking, I like cats too.
It’s good to tease kids they won’t make it, they get more energy to achieve the thing. In all cases there is an enchantress to help. Also pirate has to get happy when kids implemented what he wanted. They need the adoration.
All in all, while watching the moon, pirate remembered how his parents loved him and how happy he was in his youth, and fell asleep. Kids realised this was the time to take action: take BB-8, with the treasures and run away. Then think again if they behaved nicely, come back, leave several candies to the pirate and run away for real.
The fairy tail finishes happily by discussing all what has happened, eating the treasures and drawing funny faces on the tangerines.
The game is great and kids loved it. I tested it on 3 groups and for sure far not always everything went as it was planned.
Such a game works nice with the children of 8-10 years. They get so involved that might start beating the pirate for taking the robot away. On one lesson, the pirate appeared while kids were not sleeping, and so got into a jail. The situation and scenario was rescued by the tennis table where kids were sent for a break. Older ones (10-12) started discussing the law system and what should happen to a pirate after he took the robot. They also were concerned if to follow the pirate’s requests to program the robot, because they have the right not to. In the very end they did make a great dog and then asked the pirate for the photo session with them.
Always be ready to be flexible and brainstorm yourself depending on the situation.