Friday, July 19, 2019

HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE by Josh Funk & Sara Palacios – A fun book to introduce kids to coding


It is so great to see a book about coding that tackles a kid-friendly problem. This is another book that would be excellent for a classroom or school library collection. Or maybe even to read during summer camp. The foreword by Reshma Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code, helps explain why introducing basic concepts of coding to young children helps to prepare them for their future.

Summary from Amazon:

All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever!

How to Code a Sandcastle, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios was published in 2018 by Viking Children’s Books.


Opening:    

Hello, World. I’m Pearl.

It’s the last day of summer vacation.

Which means today is my very last chance

to build a sandcastle!


My Thoughts as a Writer:

The beginning of this story shows all the problems Pearl has met in trying to build a sandcastle—a great set up for the solution of using a robot to help her. I liked the way the story shows Pearl’s reactions to the problems that crop up as she uses the robot.


My Thoughts as an Educator:

The idea of breaking a big problem down into smaller problems to solve is what really came through for me as a key concept in this story. I also really liked the way the book explains concepts such as “loop” and “sequence” in a kid-friendly way. The illustrations are fun and the problems of not giving specific enough instructions to the robot add a lot of light humor to this story.

Ages: 4-8

Grades: K – 3

Themes: coding, problem-solving, sandcastles

Activities:

Imagine & Draw: Design your own fantastic sandcastle! Draw a picture and include all the features that will make your sandcastle really awesome.

Write: Think about the steps a robot would need to build a tower or bridge. What sequences might you need? What loops could help save on the work? Draw and write to show your steps. Build a model of your design.

STEM: Create a coding game! Design a set of cards to show how the robot would move from the sandcastle to the water to fill the castle moat. What obstacles would be in the way? What directions would the robot need to move?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, oh, oh, I've been meaning to read this one. Thanks for the reminder! I'll put it on hold at the library. Thanks!

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