My Bud-dy! My Bud-dy! Yes, Code Buddies Are Back!

My bud-dy, my bud-dy! It’s the third year of Code Buddies, when Middle School students guide Lower School students through a challenging and creative coding project. The Makers’ Lab and the Boulevard became a hive of activity as students shared ideas, tinkered, tested, debugged their code and solved problems. This cross-divisional project allows the students to focus on the critical mindset for computational thinking: reframing failure as iteration!

The mantra of “Code - Test - Fail - Debug - Test – Succeed” was repeated over and over again as Kindergarteners worked with their buddies to program Beebots trace numbers and letters, while first graders huddled with older students to create animated stories using Scratch JR. Second grade students tackled Turtle Art with buddies to design unique snowflakes. 

In third and fourth grade, the Code buddy projects had significant interdisciplinary tie-ins to their Humanities curriculums. Inspired by their unit of study of the American Revolution, the third graders and seventh graders were challenged to code a dance for the Dash Robots to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.” The British troops sang this song to make fun of their stereotype of the American soldier as a Yankee simpleton, but later with adapted lyrics the song turned from being an insult to being a song of national pride for the Americans. After choosing a Loyalist or Patriot side and lighting up the robots with red or blue lights respectively, the buddy teams coded a sequence to be played for all to see in a line-dance of the early colonies. 

The fourth graders extended their study of Famous Women Scientists, alongside eighth graders, by composing a piece of music inspired by the accomplishments of their notable scientist using Scratch code and a keyboard made with physical computing hardware parts called a Makey-Makey. The tune for Grace Hopper (pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first compiler related tools) included dial-up tones and digital sounding beeps, while astronomer Maria Mitchell’s song was more space-like with eerie tones and spooky swooshes.

 It was another successful year for Coding Buddies! Huge shout-out to our fabulous technology integrators Ms. Beckwith and Ms. Durso!

Speyer School