Let's Play Coding!

Breaking down a complex problem into smaller steps, identifying patterns and developing algorithms to solve the problem efficiently.
Marco Fossati, teacher of physical education, specialist in technology for the blind and visually impaired I.Ri.Fo.R.

With keen foresight and experimental spirit, we have chosen this year to carry out the orientation and mobility and personal autonomy activities through playful teaching! We played with Coding Unplugged!


We chose to exercise computational thinking through playful collaborative experiences. It focuses on the ability to break down a complex problem into smaller steps, identify patterns and develop algorithms to solve problems efficiently, allowing us to experience the joy of finding solutions altogether.


Computational thinking is not only limited to computer scientists or programmers. It is applicable in many other areas and everyday situations and helps us develop problem-solving skills, logic, creativity, and the ability to represent problems in a structured and systematic way.


We need to focus on different life skills, using them in a playful way. We played with many of those personal and pragmatic inter-relational skills that come about, regulate, and improve group work in a constructive collaboration perspective. Building on what is currently recognized, researched and fostered in the educational sphere, and also on the work and career paths trending in the global economy, we had fun playing with critical programming thinking, creativity, collaboration, resilience and perseverance.


And all we did was play! We played with Coding Unplugged, that is without a computer. In order to understand and get accustomed to a proper order, to a correct sequence of steps, we built car parks with Lego, from which we had to bring out cars and trucks in a very precise and consistent system.

The robot bees, Coding Lab, Bologna

Using Augusto Romagnoli’s timeless and irreplaceable tool, we understood some of the dynamics of movement. Understanding and managing spatial representations and moving with one’s own parallelepiped, picturing oneself within that space allowed us to internalize, move forward, turn right, turn left, after considering them in a dimension, extremely functional, correlated with the geographical topological indications of the cardinal points.


We then moved on, using cards appropriately marked in Braille, to experiment and play with Cody Roby, a game specific to Coding Unplugged.


The six Bee Bots and ten Edison robots that were loaned to me by the headmaster and teaching staff of the Istituto Comprensivo Poliziano in Florence have enabled us to experience innovative possibilities in the field of education. Our heartfelt thanks go to them!


We really liked the robot bees! We easily identified the eyes and thus their front and the position of the keys on the back. Being able to set them up and to see if the programming actually led to the intended result was simple; it was engaging, it challenged us in experimenting with our skills.


Being in a group allowed us not to work all alone, but to experience peer education and a pleasant, cool and rewarding collaborative activity. One of the strengths of our being together has been the opportunity to find ways to work together.


The joy of working as a team also led us to make our bees do choreography, which was also designed to teach orientation and mobility. We had the opportunity to correlate, to put together our body movements with the movements in space of the Bee Bots to better clarify, understand and structure spatial concepts.


We noticed that the simplicity of organizing the bees allowed all people, regardless of their skill levels, to try their hand at it, to enjoy the movement of their robot bee.


With high school girls and boys, we used Edison’s robots. They are programmable through software of varying difficulty, which we programmed using an iPad Mini.


It was a very pleasant experience. We experimented with many things, but above all we played. And so without realizing it we learned aspects of computational thinking, linking between the programming of an object and the programming of the travels one can make in the city.


Braille-marked cards of the game Cody Roby, Coding Lab, Bologna

Some of the older youth realized the correspondence between planning and moving autonomously within urban spaces and boundaries. Strengthening computational thinking contributes to building the experiential foundations that foster autonomous movement in one’s own school, neighbourhood and city.


Of course, I would like to thank the girls and boys who played their hearts out with me this summer. A big hello to everyone!



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