Free Martin Luther King Jr. coding activities

 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the US.

It’s a day for celebrating the work and achievements of this remarkable man and activist who became the most celebrated leader in the civil rights movement.

Many, many student notebook pages will be filled with facts and stories about him, but we’d like to suggest a slightly different approach: coding to ‘show what you know’ about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below you’ll find 2 different coding activities, free to use, that will help your class express their knowledge and understanding in a digital, dynamic way that also improves their coding skills.

For younger students, or those starting on their coding journey: Design a digital museum to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Code a digital museum in Scratch to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Visit this activity: Design a digital museum about Martin Luther King Jnr.

For advanced coders, or older students: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

In this exercise, students will use a text based coding tool (javascript) to build a flag or poster, to commemorate the march that challenged the inequalities faced by African Americans at the time, that also saw the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Visit this activity: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

Extension resources

  • Related reading - Read up on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, as well as related civil rights facts and info.

  • Primary source - read an original newspaper excerpt from 1957 The Oberlin Review, Oberlin, Ohio about Dr. King’s speech on the topic "Justice without Violence".

 

An Hour of Code with BrainPOP

 

Learning to code isn’t hard. There, I said it.

It’s no harder than learning to add and subtract. Or a new language. Or a series of dance moves (no, I can’t floss either). Or the rules of punctuation. Or a musical instrument.

But you have to start somewhere, you need to practice, and you need someone to help you along the way (*waves to teachers*).

And you need motivation to keep coding when the coding gets tough (or buggy).

Which is where support events and communities like Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code can show you the the right path, tools, and skills needed to learn to code.

And this year BrainPOP’s Creative Coding is an official Hour of Code activity!

What is Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

For 2018 the theme is “What will you Create” which is perfect for BrainPOP students!

Your students can choose a BrainPOP Scratch (block-based) or Vidcode (text-based) project for sixteen different topics across the curriculum, from Martin Luther King Jr. to DNA to Food Chains. All available for FREE until December 31st 2018.

BrainPOP and Hour of Code free topics.png

To choose a project, visit Hour of Code and select BrainPOP from the “Created By” drop-down menu on the left. If your school already subscribes to Creative Coding, log onto BrainPOP and look for the Creative Coding tile on the right side of any topic page for the full coding experience.

Creative Coding Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, November 27th at 18:00 EST/23:00 GMT (if you can’t make it don’t worry it will be recorded and uploaded to the Educator’s blog) to hear how Certified BrainPOP Educator Nay Belaunzarán is successfully using Creative Coding in her classroom. Nay will share ideas for how to integrate coding into your curriculum — a perfect way to gear up for Computer Science Education Week.


Want to know more?

If you would like to add the full Creative Coding package to your current BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. subscription please let us know and we’ll get right back to you.

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Get creative with coding!

 
Creative Coding with BrainPOP

>10 PRINT "CODING IN BRAINPOP!";
>20 GOTO 10

Yep, you read that right.

You can now access Vidcode AND Scratch based coding projects inside a huge range of BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. curriculum topics.

Creative coding - Scratch and Vidcode.png

What sorts of things will children be able to do in a Creative Coding project?

What's our approach to helping you teach coding?

Designed to seamlessly integrate with what you’re already teaching, Creative Coding makes it simple to introduce coding and provides students with the opportunity to “show what they know” in a whole different way.

We make coding part of what you're teaching, not a separate technology driven exercise.

Coding for All

Because they span the curriculum and provide multiple opportunities for differentiated instruction, our Creative Coding projects reach students with a breadth of needs, and at all levels. These projects:

  1. Help your students build and demonstrate knowledge in a way that is personally meaningful to them, in a familiar environment
  2. Guide and scaffold children and adults so that no technical background is needed
  3. Reduce inequality in access to computer science instruction when worked into the school day

The two methods - block AND text based coding

The block- and text-based projects are developed based on Scratch and Vidcode.

Block-based coding, based on the Scratch visual programming language, is an effective way to introduce computational thinking that fosters creative expression and experimentation. Perfect for younger pupils, or those new to coding.

Scratch on BrainPOP

Text-based coding with Vidcode deepens that knowledge by inviting students to apply programming fundamentals to create projects using JavaScript, empowering them to show what they know about what they're learning in school.

Vidcode on BrainPOP

Want to learn more?

There's a huge amount of Creative Coding teacher support material in our Educators site, but maybe start with our 'About Creative Coding projects' support page that details each type of project.

How do I unlock Creative Coding in BrainPOP?

Creative Coding is an optional add on feature, priced separately to your main school subscription.

You also must have a whole school licence to BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. PLUS individual teacher and student accounts enabled on your subscription.

Creative Coding button.png

If you see this padlock icon on a Creative Coding button on a topic page this means you do NOT have it unlocked.

Get in touch today to get a no obligation quote to enable Creative Coding for your school.

We're currently running a promotion too - save 25% if you add it to your subscription before December 31st 2018.

     

    Make a meme! Can you use coding to assess content knowledge?

     
    BrainPOP coding to learn about the circulatory system.png

    So I made my first video meme today. And learned about the circulatory system while doing it.

    By any standards it was about the worst meme ever made (check it out below), but I had so many moments of learning during the process that I'm kind of proud of it.

    Welcome to 'Creative Coding' on BrainPOP.com!

    Developed with our partner Vidcode, Creative Coding invites students to show what they know about a topic through a variety of coding projects.

    It enables students with little or no coding experience to succeed, while those with coding background can take their work to more sophisticated levels.

    There are currently 4 different coding projects across 20 different topics available for free on BrainPOP - Meme, Doodle Augmented Reality, Stop Motion Animation, and Newscast.

    Each project takes the learner on a journey through coding, but in the context of a curriculum subject.

    There will be around 15-20 steps in the instruction panel in the project, and each line of code you add/edit will be reflected in the 'live' view. Take a look at the interface in this walk-through to see what I mean.

    In Meme projects, students use JavaScript to embellish a short video with graphics and text. Students will discover that JavaScript is made up of objects that have properties and methods. They will:

    • Program in JavaScript
    • Apply knowledge of JavaScript objects
    • Customise objects by changing their properties
    • Position their memes using the coordinate plane (x-y grid)
    • Apply their knowledge of a BrainPOP topic

    Circulatory System Meme Coding Project

    My code

    In my video meme I picked the video clip 'moby checking pulse' from the movie 'Circulatory systems' (rows 1-2).

    Then I overlaid a 'heart' graphic (rows 4-8), followed by the words 'Moby makes my' (rows 10-15) and 'heart beat faster' (rows 17-22).

    I positioned each element, changed colours/sizes, and made the heart a little transparent.

    All through a coding language of which I had 0% knowledge.

    Moby heart rate meme.gif

    I tried different things, and failed sometimes, but fixed my mistakes which felt great. There was some guess work on how to position things and how colours and transparencies would look.

    But I never felt overwhelmed, nor less than curious about each step.

    And I made something with code (go me!) and saved it to my projects folder. So as I get better at coding I can come back and improve my meme.

    The value of aligning coding with content learning cannot be underestimated. As a teacher you can assess student subject knowledge, encourage creativity, and support student choice.

    Before (and during) coding sessions, ask your students to conduct research using the various materials on BrainPOP and elsewhere, create a storyboard (in Make a Map perhaps?), and work collaboratively with their friends.

    What are you waiting for? You could make the next hit meme!