This workshop, as a part of join activities within NiSTEaM iniciative for taking part in SDW 2019, is an introduction to coding and computer science by way of making and design, using the revolutionary new micro:bit microcontroller board, and Microsoft's easy and powerful MakeCode block-based coding environment. It is a project-based curriculum with a maker philosophy at its core; the idea is that by making physical objects, students create a context for learning the coding and computer science concepts.
We found that existing curriculum for beginners focused mostly on solving math problems or constructing geometric shapes and that there was a certain type of student that signed up for computer science classes and these students were almost always boys. We wondered whether a different approach to teaching the basics of computer programming would be more engaging and also attract a larger variety of different types of students, both boys and girls.
We decided to focus on what knowing how to program allowed you to do and create. Ultimately all programs are created to solve a problem or serve a purpose. The problem may be local or global, the purpose may be anything from helping doctors treat patients to pure entertainment. By starting with interesting problems the students wanted to solve, they were much more engaged in learning to code. They saw coding skills as an important part of building creative solutions.