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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bugs Below!!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to help introduce the programming concept of bugs and debugging to a fabulous group of Kindergartners! This class has been learning the basics of programming through sequencing arrow codes with Kodable for the past few weeks. They learned that computers and their Fuzz Friend aliens are not very smart and need their help because they only know how to read a secrete "code" known as arrows. They have been giving their Fuzz Friends the code to travel through the mazes. This activity will help extended their basic understanding of sequencing, create a connection between an idea they already know to a key concept of problem-solving and programing.

Bugs! That's a BUG! 


We began this activity by having the students "think" about a time they made a mistake. After a few moments to think, I shared an example with the class. It went something like this, "One day, I was writing my name and wrote the wrong letter. I made a mistake! Everyone, what I did I make?" The class responded with, "You made a mistake!" I continued to build the excitement in the room. I asked if anyone wanted to share a mistake they had made with the class. After my first volunteer, I had the class respond to their idea by finishing my statement. I repeated the students mistake, "When he spilled his milk, he made a ______!" The class all joined in to finish my statement with mistake. Before calling on the next student, I introduced our concept for today's activity. I told the students, in programming when there is a mistake we call that a bug! So I changed my sentence frame to include this concept. Instead, I said, "When he spilled his milk, that' a BUG!"  We continued to let students share examples of mistakes or problems. After each example, I repeated the mistake and the students responded with "That's a BUG!" This really helped the students develop a strong connection that in programming the word "BUG" means a problem, mistake or error! In programming we need to find bugs and fix them. When we fix problems, we call that debugging!

Next we played a video on debugging by code.org on YouTube. Check out this video here! After watching the video, we introduced the Debugging: Sequence and Algorithm level in Kodable. The students were all excited to see the "bug" in the maze. Our introduction activity helped the students gain an understanding to why their was a "bug" in their maze and they knew their was a mistake that they needed to find and fix in their code.

During centers, all the students had an opportunity to continue working programming their alien Fuzz Friends through the mazes of Kodable!