Combining science and programming makes perfect sense. So much of the work of researchers and scientists involves complex data management and coding as well as simulations and modeling.
I have talked with some teachers recently about using programming to model systems. This is great and super duper common core thinking as a way to demonstrate understanding. Using Scratch or the iPad programming app, Hopscotch students can create presentations, animations, and interactive games.
This lesson is a great application of an open studio app and allows for student creativity while allowing for easy assessment. The goal is content-based and not tool based. This lesson was midway through the year and the students all had some experience programming in Hopscotch.
This is the text I put in front of my fifth graders in STEM class.
One of the ways we can demonstrate how well we understand a system is to create a simulation of that system.
Our Guiding Question
What are the significant parts of the system of photosynthesis? How do they relate?
Begin by sketching the system you want to animate. Think about which pieces need to move and change and which will stay motionless?
Take it to the Tablet
You will be using Hopscotch to animate a model of photosynthesis. I suggest you investigate the emoji keyboard for the sun, rain, plants, flowers, and arrows.
Your model needs to clearly show how photosynthesis works. Be sure to get your basic functionality down first, and then make it more complex.
Can you imagine your students modeling a system you study? Which system would it be? Share your ideas in the comments and let's get more students coding to learn in all subject areas!