Coding, Physical Computing & Electronics

CODING

Alice
One of my very favorite tools to teach kids to code is Alice. It uses block-based programming to create 3D worlds where objects can interact with each other (teaching object-oriented programming concepts). It’s a free download, but does take up a lot of memory and hard disk space.

Crunchzilla
Includes Code Monster, a great introduction to text-based programming for late elementary to middle school kids, Code Maven which is the next step up, aimed at teens and high school kids, Game Maven, recommended for ages 16 and up, and Data Maven which teaches statistics and is recommended for ages 12 and up.

C.S. First
Computer science curriculum created by Google. You can get free materials, mailed to you, to create a C.S. First club. This includes passports, badges and instructions. It is integrated with Scratch.

Scratch
Scratch is a favorite of many. Scratch uses programming blocks to teach how to code, so can be used by kids of all ages. There is even a Scratch Jr., aimed at early elementary aged kids. The best part of scratch is it that it’s integrated with so many other tools, for example Minecraft and C.S. First.

PHYSICAL COMPUTING

Introduction to Physical Computing
A workshop created by the Maker Education Initiative to help people teach younger kids how to do physical computing. Very detailed, full lesson plans with how to’s, materials needed lists, and teaching prompts.

Arduino for Education
Arduino is a mini-computer that can be used to teach kids about coding, electronics and physical computing. You can add physical computing pieces that use music, lights, temperature and more.

Arduino Project Hub
Tons of ideas that you can use to create cool projects with Arduino. A good place to start for tutorials or if you are just wondering what is possible with Arduino.

Choosing a LilyPad Arduino for your Project
If you are interested in wearables, also called e-textiles, you are going to need to know about Lilypad Arduino, which was made specifically for wearables. If you scroll down a bit on this site, you will find a section called “Suggested Reading”, the links there are a great place to start. I would also strongly recommend checking out the book Sew Electric by Leah Buechley & Kanjun Qui, since Leah is the one who invented the LilyPad. It’s a beautiful book with some great, accessible projects.

FLORA by Adafruit
Flora is another product created for wearables. It has the convenience of a USB, so it’s easy to plug into a computer to program. Check out the cool projects at the bottom of the site under “Learn”.

Makey Makey Labz
Guides for projects that can be created with the Makey Makey “Invention Kit”.

Micro:bit
Micro:bit are mini computers that can be used to learn coding and physical computing. They work with everything from robots to music. Their website includes curriculum.

PyroEDU
A full online course that teaches about electronics.

Raspberry Pi for Education
Raspberry Pi is a mini computer that comes complete with it’s own operating system (although you will have to supply the keyboard, monitor and mouse) and can be used to teach kids about coding, electronics and physical computing. There are external Pi HATs that can be added with cameras, LEDs, motors, buzzers and more. This online site for educators has instructions, lesson plans, downloads and a forum.

Squishy Circuits
Learn how to create simple circuits using play dough! The site includes dough recipes and projects.

VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY

CoSpaces Edu
A site that allows students to build and animate 3D objects which can then be explored with virtual or augmented reality. The only drawback is that it isn’t free.

Google Poly
A database made for sharing 3D objects that can be used with virtual and augmented reality.