For the first and only time ever, the FIFA World Cup occurs during the school year. Usually held in the summer, the heat of the host country Qatar had FIFA move the soccer tournament to the early winter for its balmy 85-90 degree days. In the summer, temps reach a scorching 120 degrees!
This makes for a lot of passion in the classroom! But where there’s excitement, there’s opportunity. It’s been a springboard for a thematic unit where we have explored symbolism of flags, geography, politics, predictions & justification, competition, idioms, surveys, data, graphs, and more.
As we approached #CSEdWeek2022 and #HourofCode during our unit, Tynker.com promoted its Coding Cup by BYJU. Sounded like a great extension and an opportunity to revisit coding!
Explicit vocabulary instruction first! To support my students, I taught & reviewed some key terms in a Quizlet set.
They included soccer vocabulary: players, jersey, to train, to be on defense, striker, goalie and also CS subject & process vocabulary: strategy, evaluate, loop, command, upgrade, conditional logic. Students repeat the vocabulary 3x. We identify its equivalent in Spanish, discuss its definition with a visual, and sometimes, an example turns out a laugh–A loop is like what I see some of you doing in the hallway on a bathroom pass! I see you walk around and around and around over and over again!
To warm up, we loved the Kahoot! World Cup sponsored by Tynker. Even the most diehard futball fans had to think about the regulation size of a soccer ball and the sequential order of the last 4 World Cup hosts–I mean, were they even born 12 years ago in 2010 when South Africa hosted? Well, done.
Creating the team and designing the jerseys was a win–“I’m going to make Honduras!” I overheard.
Next, the training. The students coded their players moves in the training modules. They would have enjoyed being able to challenge each other to a match, not be relegated to play against random teams, but it was still highly enjoyable. I know, though, if they had that option, they would never stop coding!
We ran out of time so we extended our hour of code into the next class. I fronted the next lesson with an unplugged activity to explain the concept of conditionals. I had the students prepare a game in the mode of the classic children’s movement game red light/ green light. Each student wrote two direction cards for the game following the sentence frame “If_______, then_______, otherwise (else)_______.” Most questions written were strategic! “If you have a bird as a pet, take two steps forward, otherwise take zero steps.” Then they lined up and followed the directions as I read the directions.
This eased my students into manipulating conditionals again. Now there was a more solid understanding of what a conditional required, e.g., If I have the ball, then shoot. Else (Otherwise) move to the ball.
What I would have loved to see would be to be given access to the analytics without a paid prescription, so I could centralize tracking my student’s progress through the modules. Code.org offers theirs free, so I was really left wanting. No doubt it would be great to have a paid account! I’d explore Tynker’s Coding Cup with my students again–sooner than 4 years from now when there’s the 2026 World Cup!