Learn how to code!
...WAIT, WHAT? PANIC!!
Don't worry. Coding is WAY easier than you think, and your kids will probably pick it up faster than you can imagine, without even realizing it.
Check out this quick and easy lesson on how to create a maze game using Scratch, one of the most amazing, fun (and educational) programs around.
What You Will Need
To use Scratch without downloading: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Download the Scratch program to your computer so that you can use it without internet: https://scratch.mit.edu/download
A computer - you can use a tablet, but the control functions will look a bit different than on a computer
Coding is one of the most amazing opportunities to let kids explore on their own. I highly encourage you to let the kids explore the program and the video lesson with as little assistance from you as possible. You can also encourage them to go off script and play with the program and explore it however they find interesting- you will be surprised the amazing things they will be able to figure out on their own! Since coding is so valuable for practicing problem solving, this is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions such as "Hmm... that didn't quite work... what could we do to try again? What could we change next time?" etc. when they get stuck.
Questions and Activities
Explore Scratch! What else can you make?
Coding isn't actually in the Ontario Curriculum yet as it's own subject, or as a unit in mathematics. However, it is very popular in teaching today for a number of reasons, including it's future applications for students, it's benefits in mathematics, as well as practical experience in a growing field. However, it is discussed in other teaching resources for the following helpful reasons:
Coding helps abstract mathematical concepts be expressed in a concrete way. For example, in Geometry and Spatial Sense units where the focus is to“describe, sort, classify, build, and compare two-dimensional shapes, teachers have had students use Scratch to draw a square - the extensions from here are endless.
Dynamic modelling allows students to investigate relationships, pose and test what-if questions, and easily share their findings and knowledge with peers, as well as family and friends.
A low-floor and a high-ceiling environment supports differentiated learning. This means that you don't have to have very much experience to get started with coding, but extending the lesson for students who appreciate more of a challenge comes very naturally.
Coding is also a fantastic way to learn problem solving skills, which is one of the most important skills taught in the classroom today. Coding helps the learners test their ideas in a concrete way.