I was working with my students on the Sphero Delivery Service Coding Challenge I had created. Students need to code their Sphero through the delivery route to deliver a package to the main office. They are provided the map below to guide their coding.
Each square represented a carpet square in our common area. The students needed to do the math to figure out how far the Sphero needed to run at the correct speed to navigate the delivery route. Here is an example of what it looks like.
Many students had no problem taking their time and working through their code. One even figured out the twist to the code that required the students to increase their speed or time of movement at the end because the final stretch was slightly up hill.
However, others were stuck in very early parts of the coding. They had trouble going step by step because they were trying to do it all in their head. Despite suggesting to them they should write it out to see what it looks like, they refused to do it on their own. They wanted to talk through their code with me. When you have a full class of students all trying to code, you don’t have as much time to debug every single line of code for every single student. The students that did start to walk me through their code would always catch the mistake before I said anything. They just needed to walk through it with someone.
That is when I remembered something I had heard about a while back called Rubber Duck Debugging. Here is a link that walks through all of the history behind RDD. I realized that I need to order a bunch of rubber ducks for my students to help guide them through their code. Even better, I found blank rubber ducks they could decorate however they want! At the start of the next trimester, every student in my Innovation and Design classes will be given a rubber duck to decorate and serve as their coding mentor. Here is my rubber duck I will be using in class.
This is a fun way to work through code that students and teachers will love! Give it a try and let me know how it goes! I will share student designs as they are created.
Hugs and High Fives,