When you think of coding, most people imagine sitting in front of a computer all day. But what if we could get kids excited about technology by doing something else?
Coding is a valuable skill, and it’s essential to teach children how to code! In this blog post, I’ll share some fun unplugged activities for teaching variables and data types to your students.
What is unplugged coding?
Unplugged coding is a term that refers to any activity where students are using the skills of computer science without relying on computers. Typical unplugged activities include playing games, designing puzzles and mazes, or other creative tasks like building Lego robots.
What is variable in computer programming?
A variable is a container where you can store something. It has an associated name used to keep track of what it is; it also has an a and how much inside the container. Variables are used to store different kinds of information. It can be text, number, or more complicated types. We call them data types.
Unplugged coding Activities
To make coding more accessible for your students, I’ve created a free resource with five unplugged activities that you can use to teach variables and data types. You can download the printables or set up the activity in Google slides and Seesaw!
1. Learn variables through Hands-On Activities
Get your students to understand variables with our free printables. They’re super easy to prepare, too!
- Print out the worksheets.
- Get to know our students from page 3 to page 5.
- Do activities from page 6 to page 10, in each page,
- Cut the variable blocks on the right column.
- Stick them to the empty blocks on top of each student by following the instructions in each activity.
There are many ways you can make your classroom more interactive and engaging for the learners. Here are some ideas:
- Instead of cutting and gluing the blocks, you could get your students to mark matching variable blocks and empty blocks the same color using dot markers.
- You could also use other objects like lego blocks, foam stickers, craft buttons, to name a few. Let your student place the same object (i.e., red button) to the matching variable and empty blocks.
- You can make learning more exciting and engaging for your students by getting them involved in the process. Try updating our variable blocks to your own student’s information and then matching up the blocks with the actual person!
2. Set up the activity in Google Classroom
3. Set up the activity in Seesaw
For educators or parents who are looking for ways to help their children learn the basics of coding, these unplugged activities may be just what you need. They will allow your children to experiment and create with their own hands using materials they can find around the house or classroom. We hope this blog post has provided some fun ideas on how kids can playfully explore programming concepts without any screens!