Once they completed building their rover, the fifth and sixth grade students were anxious to begin programming. Using the K'nex software and icon based programming, each of the 14 students in the combo class created an icon for their program. Then they began the process of programming simple procedures for the rover to perform. This process would give them a feel for what the various commands did.
Not unlike programmers in the real world, students would struggle through the initial design. Through the process, some students became more confident and took on leadership roles, guiding their classmates through the process. Confusion would give way to understanding and students would react excitedly! The only teacher intervention required, was to remind students to give everyone else a turn. These students were sharing one computer (not unlike the 1970s when programmers had to share time on large mainframes or smaller mini-computers before the days of personal computing).
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