Let’s code and learn about forces

Students from Vilnius Alexander Pushkin Gymnasium during SDC 2021 have learned how to code with Scratch and use these skills to create learning materials about forces in nature. We organized integrated science and coding lessons from 18th to 19th March. Lessons were organized by biology and science teacher Aleksej Per┼żu. We called this lessons “Lego, Forces and Coding”.

During activities students have learned about force of gravity and friction force. Using Scratch coding tool they had to create their own animation in which Lego character (we have called him “Lego boy”) have to explain and demonstrate how this forces works in real life situations.

First lesson took place on 18th March. We learned basics about Scratch and coding. We talked about how computer “think” and how give to it commands in a proper way. Students together with teacher tried to create different animations using Scratch with “Scratch cat”. We have payed attention to movements, “talking” command, cycles and how to add button controls for our program. It was really fun to see how students learning in a very fast way how to code with Scratch. They found more different options to use than teacher have showed to them.

The next day we started using our coding skills to create animations in Scratch about gravity and friction forces. The first one was about gravity. Students had to create animations, where “Lego boy” talks about what is gravity force. Then three objects had to fall on the Earth. One of them had to be a rotating ball. This object animation had to be created with cycles. And another one had to be a balloon. The balloon had to fly and not fall. Third object students had to choose on their own.

Second animation was about friction force. Our beloved “Lego boy” have introduced friction force. Students had to create a car that is moving until “Space” button is pushed. When “Space” button was pushed, car had to stop. It was an example where we see friction force in action.

It was fun activity for 5th grade students. The first “meeting” with Scratch was easier than they have expected. It was great to see how different objects are going down because of gravity or how many lego cars have stopped “using” friction force.

Students have developed their digital skills, learned how to code simple movements in Scratch and increased their knowledge about two forces that are around us.