An activity that could incorporate a visual programming environment is the exploration of shapes. In the Year 2 mathematics curriculum, students must ‘describe and draw two-dimensional shapes, with and without digital technologies (ACMMG042)’ (SCASA, 2014). This activity would occur after the introductory lesson(s) on the properties of shapes and using Blockly. To begin with, the activity would start with some mat time, where the teacher uses shape flashcards to unlock prior learning and ignite a discussion on the features of shapes. For example, if the teacher held up a triangle card they may ask simple recall questions such as ‘what is this shape’s name?’ Or ‘How many corners does this shape have?’ After this mat time, the teacher would explain the end goal, that the students are going to use Blockly to create their animated shapes. However, before This creative task, the students would first apply their knowledge by drawing and labelling the shapes. These diagrams will be collected as a formative assessment item. Using a think-pair-share the students discuss how they drew these shapes and what they had to do to create them i.e., I drew a straight line up, then I turned and drew another line etc. The student’s ability to create verbal algorithms would be recorded using an observational checklist. As a class, the students and teacher would complete the first Blockly turtle game together and then conduct another think-pair-share on how the shape was created, leading to a class discussion on what needs to be included in the algorithm. Following this, the students play the Blockly turtle game creating algorithms based on the features of the shapes. Again an observational checklist can be used to record student progress.
After this activity, or as an additional activity, the students could work in pairs and physically demonstrate the features of a shape and an algorithm to create this shape. For example, one student could explain that a triangle has three sides and three corners and then provide the algorithm they used to create that shape, with the second student following the directions (or even combining this with a robot activity and have the second student act out the algorithm).
School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCASA). (2014). Mathematics (Version 8.1), Year 2, Measurement and Geometry, Shape (ACMMG042). School Curriculum and Standards Authority. Retrieved 14/10/21 from https://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/teaching/curriculum-browser/mathematics-v8#year-2-syllabus