Year 2 Topic: Around the World – WildCam Gorongosa


I’m visiting the Year 2 classroom today, as they learn about the world around them, and about animals – to do a Science Project together on the computer!

We’re going to visit the country of Mozambique in Africa, to help a group of scientists tracking wildlife at the Gorongosa National Park.

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  • What Continent is this?
  • Where is Mozambique
  • What Ocean is off the coast of Mozambique.
  • This is where we are going today – to Gorongosa National Park, to work together with some scientists using our computers!

We’re going to be helping a group of scientists see how the wild animals who live in this park are doing, after years of war when soldiers were in this park and hunting the animals for food. Now the war is over and it is protected again – but how are the animals doing?

How do you think that scientists can study these animals, when the park is so very very large, and much of it is hard to reach?

Let’s find out more about the kinds of animals that are living here.

So how can you and I help these scientists from our computers?

We’re going to take a look at these photos, one at a time, and tell the scientists what animal we see there!

I will need your teacher’s help in grouping each of you in partners in the Computer Room.

One of you will have a list of animals on your computer screen, with their names, and some information about them if you click on the picture.

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The other partner will have the WildCam Gorongosa Science Project open, and together you will be looking at a photo, and helping to identify what animal it is.


We have the afternoon together, so let’s see how many animals we can identify and work together with Scientists. YOU are doing real science!!

If we’ve got some time later in the day for a 10 minute video, we can see some more of the park and take a look at more of the animals who live there.


Lesson 42: Maps & Where we live

Snack & Chat

Lets talk about some of the amazing things that Computers enable us to do. The Year 2 class are learning about the world in their “All around the World” topic this term, and we’ve got a great way to explore the world right on our computers.

We have maps on our computers! And not just the kind that you unfold on paper, but we have maps with pictures of where we live. Today we are going to have a look at Google Maps during our Computer time, and I’d like to tell you how these maps were built.


This is a car with a very good camera on top of it, that takes photos on four sides at once. These photos are matched against information about where that car is driving, and are woven together on a “Google Street View” map. Take a look at one of the places that a car like that has driven!! Do you recognise it?

school on street view map

But there is also a way of looking at the map called “Google Earth”, which is photos from much higher up. Here is what a Google Engineer said about how these maps are made:  “Most people are surprised to learn that we have more than one source for our imagery. We collect it via airplane and satellite, but also just about any way you can imagine getting a camera above the Earth’s surface: hot air balloons, model airplanes – even kites.”

It’s pretty complicated to weave all of those pictures together in a way that looks smooth, and doesn’t make you dizzy when you’re looking at it. The people that do this work are computer scientists.

Here’s an example of a map image taken from the air. Do you recognise it?


Computer Time

Now it’s your turn to explore these maps. Click on any of the two map images above, and take a look around your world! Do you find anything funny or surprising? Can you find your way home?

New Term, New Club – Lesson 41

Snack & Chat

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Computer Club at our School! We hope to be have some fun with robots later on in the year, but for this term we’re going to be learning how to code our own games, with Studio Code.

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Computer Time

We’re going to start out in Studio Code with learning how we tell the Angry Bird to move, so that he can catch one of the Naughty Pigs.

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Once you’ve completed all of the levels, you can have some free computer play time here:


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Note for other Teachers

I’ve come the conclusion that I’m not going to be able to do Studio Code in the Club as I’d intended – I don’t have an assistant this year, and the kids need a bit more walking through the steps, and assistance in the ICT room than I’m able to give them at club time. They’re tired at the end of the day, and club needs to be more relaxed and playful – and less about formal lessons! Plus, the group I have ranges from 6 years old to 8 years old – the older ones can be thrown into Studio Code from the beginning and make their way, but I’m seeing quite a few of the youngest ones who just get confused without MUCH more scaffolding…

I’m going to work with our school teachers to look at bringing it into the curriculum, and we can add it to the range of activities that our Code Club for the older years covers.


Lesson 40: Computer Bugs & Debugging

Snack & Chat

I’ve got two new words for you today – Computer Bugs & Debugging. But before I explain these words, I want to tell you a story about  one of the very earliest computers and a very clever lady who wrote Computer Code. Do you remember what Code is? That’s right, a language for writing Programmes that the Computer can understand. This is Grace Hooper, and she wrote one of the first computer languages, called COBOL. When the computers didn’t work, they had to take a look at the machines and figure out what was going wrong. Sometimes it was a mistake in the Code, but sometimes it was something wrong with the machine. One day when Grace Hopper was figuring out why a computer programme wasn’t working, she discovered the problem: 1952_hopper-grace_large   There was a bug in the machine! And here it is, with her notes of all of the things she had been checking to find the problem; TheFirstComputer-Bug-MarkI-book-d3 Before 1944, electrical engineers already used the term “bug” to refer to hard-to-find physical problems that kept the machines  from working properly. The Mark I team used the word “bug”  for unexpected problems in the “coding” of a problem. Ever since then, Programming that doesn’t work is said to have a Computer Bug, and looking for the problem is called De-Bugging!

what are bugs

BBC – What are computer bugs:

Now we’re going to do some de-bugging of our own.

We’re going to do some more Angry Bird puzzle games, but this time there is some code ready waiting for you. Accept it doesn’t work! Can you debug the code and find the problem? Can you fix it and help the Angry Bird catch the pig?

debugging   New Lego game to play: Some Blockly games to play:


Lesson 39: ROBOTS!!

trooper1-1387603776176Snack & Chat

Today I want to tell you about something really cool that happened last week – teams from around the world designed a robot and entered it into a robot competition. This is called the DARPR Robotics Challenge.

This year the Challenge was to design a robot to help in emergencies. This is the list of the things that the robots needed to be able to do:

1. Drive a utility vehicle at the site.

2. Travel dismounted across rubble.

3. Remove debris blocking an entryway.

4. Open a door and enter a building.

5. Climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway.

6. Use a tool to break through a concrete panel.

7. Locate and close a valve near a leaking pipe.

8. Connect a fire hose to a standpipe and turn on a valve.

Let’s watch one of the robots doing it’s tasks

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And this is the robot that won the competition!

KAIST's DRC-HUBO at the Door -Day 1_0 (1)

(If you really, really love Robots – you can watch the Finals on YouTube here:

Computer Time – Programming Robots

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And here’s a new Runaway Robot Game for you to try – don’t forget to read the Instructions!

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Lesson 38: BBC Bitesize

Today is Open Classroom at our school, so the children will have their snack in their classrooms and show their parents their work. And then they can come up to the ICT Room for some free time on the Computers until club ends at 4:30

I’d like you all to spend your free time playing games at BBC Bitesize – there are lots of fun things to discover!

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Lesson 37: What is Code?

Snack & Chat

We’ve been talking about Algorithms – they are a list of steps to follow to accomplish a task. Like when you told me how to draw a smiley face.

And we’ve been talking about Programmes – they are Algorithms that have been coded into something that can be run by a Machine. Like the North, South, East, West, Code that we used to tell our robot how to get to the smiley face on the floor.

But what is a Code? And what is Coding?

Computer code is a set of rules or instructions. It is made up of words and numbers and when you put them in the right order it will tell your computer what you want it to do. You can program lots of things with code.

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So it’s coding when you right a set of instructions for the computer, that the computer can understand. You write your algorithm, and your programme with code!

Let’s write some code today!

Has anybody every heard of the game Angry Birds? Do you know that the game has been written in code? When you touch the screen in a certain way, the computer is told what to do with the bird. Let’s try it here with some simple arrows, to get us started.

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Now it’s your turn

Let’s go to the computer room, and you give this a try all by yourself. When you are done this level, there are 15 more levels that you can try. How far can you get?

Have fun!!!

Lesson 36: Move It Move It

Snack Time

Hello everyone, do you remember the word that we learned last week? That’s right – it’s Algorithm. That means a list of instructions that you follow in order to finish a task. We played a game called Happy Maps that told the little Flurb which way it needed to go in order to reach the fruit. That arrow was a very simple algorithm for the Flurb to follow. Today I’ve got a new word for you:



2000px-Smiley.svgA program is an algorithm that has been coded in a language that a machine can understand. Like a computer! Or a robot! Let’s play a little game. I want you to tell me how to draw a smiley face, one step at a time. How do I need to start? Now give me two instructions at a time. Now give me three instructions at a time.

When you give me multiple instructions at a time, you’re providing me with an “algorithm” to draw each piece of the smiley face.

Now, suppose we were to have a secret “code” for each of those instructions. For example, “Draw an Eye” could look like this: (make a large circle with your hands). If we had special codes for each of those steps, then our algorithm would become a program. We’re going to play a game called Move It Move It that allows us to program each other…and you’ll do it all with your arms!


Unplugged Computer Game: Move It Move It

  1. Decide who will be the Walking Machine and who will be the Controller.
  2. Have the Controller set up a grid on the floor made up of pieces of paper as shown on one of the Move It Maps, except with the smiley face upside down, facing the ground.
  3. The Walking Machine will start by standing on the page with the compass rose.
  4. The Controller will then lead the Walking Machine step-by-step through the paper maze that they created, using the provided arm signals.
  5. When the Controller gives the signal to “STOP,” the Walking Machine will flip over the page that they are on. If that page is a smiley face, then the maze was a success!
  • The Controller (and anyone else in the group who is not the Walking Machine) can set up a map made of paper, based on one of the Move It Map cards.

  • Remember that the smiley face map page should actually be set facing the ground, so that the Walking Machine cannot easily tell where their final location is.
  • The Walking Machine begins by standing on the piece of paper imprinted with the compass rose.

  • The Controller uses arm movements to guide the Walking Machine. Encourage the Controller to be facing the same direction as the Walking Machine to avoid having them get confused by “East is Right” and “West is Left.”
  • Controllers should start by giving one direction at a time, allowing the Walking Machine to take a step before they move on to the next direction.
    • Halfway into the activity, you can encourage your students to Control with two instructions before they allow the Walking Machine to take a step, and then three.
    • Ideally, by the time the lesson is complete, the students will relay the entire “program” to the Walking Machine before the Walking Machine even takes their first step.


Free Time on the Computer

Now we’re going to go to the Computer Room for some free time playing on our computers. You can choose your favourite games website from the Bookmarks on the Browser Toolbar, or if you’d like to try something new, you can go here for a fun Drag and Drop puzzle game to practice your mouse skills:


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Lesson 35: Happy Maps

Welcome to Robots & Computers Club

Today we’re starting the Summer 2015 term, and have a few new members joining us who haven’t been in the club before. We’re also going to be introducing new activities in the club. To start with, we’re going to be doing some Unplugged Computing Activities!

What does Unplugged mean? It means, we can think & talk about how computers work without actually using our computers. Although we will always have some time on the computers at the end of club.

Today, I’ve got a new word to tell you about. Some of you will have heard me use it before. And it’s not as hard as it sounds!


Let’s pretend that I’m a robot, and you want me to go over to that desk to get something. How are you going to give me instructions? You have to tell me about every little step!


Happy Maps

Flurbs are happy, fuzzy little things.

Flurbs love to eat fruit. Fruit is hard to find in Flurb Town. Use the maps to help the Flurb find some fruit.

Work with your group to decide which direction the Flurb needs to step to get to the fruit.

Directions for Class:

1) Cut out an arrow for each member of your team.


2) Start with Map 1 to help the Flurb look for fruit.

3) Have each member of your group put an arrow next to the map to vote for which way the Flurb should step.

4) If not all arrows are pointing the same way, talk to each other and decide as a group which way the arrow should point.

5) When your whole group agrees on a direction, your team can share your answer with the teacher.

6) If your answer is correct, move on to the next map.

Computer Time

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Lesson 34: Storytelling – setting the Location

Snack & Chat

The Year One class has been learning about stories and storytelling. Stories need a beginning, a middle and an end. But they also need a location. This is called the setting for the story. Where would you place your story?

Computer Time

Today’s game is a scene-setting game – we’re going to create an Island! There are some little mini-figures who live on this island, but they don’t have any buildings yet. Can you help them build a house to live in?

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I’ve also got a fun Astrophysics game for you to play today. Can you help our Alien collect all of the space ships? You’ll have to pull the string around by clicking and dragging the yellow circle… can you make it fit around all of the spaceships in a way that the Alien can get them?

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