It Will Be All Reich In The End

, , , , | Learning | December 21, 2017

(I teach computers at a small school. I’m working with a grade 3/4 class on coding. A student puts up her hand for help and I come around. She’s on a level where you’re supposed to program a character to skate around on a frozen lake and trace snowflakes into the ice with their skates.)

Student: “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but it doesn’t look like the example. It just keeps drawing squares!”

(I notice that the student has forgotten one important element of code that makes the character jump back to their original position after moving around.)

Me: “Oh, see here, you need this new block of code. See how in the instructions they tell you what it does? I’m guessing you ignored it because you haven’t seen it before. I’ll show you how it works and then I’ll let you play around with it to make whatever design you want.”

(I drag the missing block of code randomly into the student’s work, just to show her how it changes it. To my horror, when I press run, the character now draws a perfect swastika into the ice!)

Student: *excitedly* “Oh, cool. That’s really pretty!”

Me: *flustered* “Uhh, well, you can move it around in the code and maybe add onto it to make a proper snowflake—”

Student: “No, I like it! It looks so cool! Thanks!”

(And that’s how I taught an eight-year-old girl how to draw a swastika. Not my proudest teaching moment.)

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