Art and Science Join Forces to Bring Kids Storytelling Alive through Code
Teaching code comes with challenges regardless of who the student is. The language of code is abstract and often takes years of study and practice to master for advanced learners. In teaching code to children, the focus has to be anchoring the simplest ideas behind the abstract language of code to basic concepts that they can recognize and understand.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that helps young learners make connections between the abstract and the concrete. Through stories, broad ideas about cause and effect are communicated in an engaging way that ties ideas to everyday consequences. It is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to teaching young children the basics of code.
The movement to evolve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into STEAM, working the arts into the world of science and tech, is evident in schools. It’s become clear to educators that the real-world applications of abstract, “left-brained” disciplines often are best illustrated by the arts. Teaching coding alongside the arts in particular helps to ground the abstract language of code to real world effects.
How Does Storytelling and Coding Fit Together?
So, the question stands: how does coding and storytelling fit together? For young children, it begins with KIBO, a coding robot that children can program with a sequences of programmable wooden building blocks. A hands-on education system like KIBO teaches young learners the simplest elements of coding: sequential commands, basic “if/then” statements, and simple environmental inputs.
Establishing a knowledge base is one thing, but the ultimate goal is for kids to use that knowledge to solve new problems and evaluate and engage in new contexts. This is where storytelling becomes a compelling door into continued coding practice and engaging with the skills that early learners have developed in new and creative ways.
Reenacting a Journey
A perfect example of incorporating a story into coding is a story about a journey. The first step in making the KIBO robot reenact elements of a narrative is to first have students engage in a decomposition of the text. In our example, this would involve interpreting different movements and evaluating language like “over the river and through the woods.” Students will extrapolate these narrative elements into code for KIBO to reenact.
Once the narrative has been parsed into commands for the robot to follow, early learners get to expand on other elements of the narrative using their creativity. This includes creating an environment for the robot to navigate with landmarks to pass and obstacles to sidestep. The act of building an environment for the robot to navigate through teaches spatial awareness and challenging students to correlate their code with steps from start to finish. Lastly, KIBO comes with a art platforms on which young students can create and design characters and add personality to help bring their story’s protagonist to life.
Through the simple merging of two seemingly disparate disciplines, early learners are called upon to apply abstract skills to create real life recreations of their favorite stories. Not only is such an exercise amazing at reinforcing disparate skills in a single exercise, but also incorporates the student’s creativity to further spark ideas and interest in future projects. STEAM is the cornerstone of so many future industries and beginning to teach students coding as well as creative problem solving is beginning at younger ages. With KIBO, young learners have the best system for learning to code and sparking their creativity at the same time.
Meet KIBO, a Screen-free Educational STEAM Robot
There are coding toys available designed to approach a precise issue: How do we teach young people about coding fundamentals while giving them a fertile environment for other aspects of their growth? Enter KIBO, a screen-less way to engage and learn. Using programmable wooden building blocks that can be placed and manipulated to create sequences that will direct a robot’s movements, it addresses a growing understanding of technology’s impact on childhood development and allowing us to rethink the amount of time children interface with computers.
KIBO, the learning robot designed specifically for kids, offers an inviting, engaging platform for young children to start their journey into creating with code in a fun and creative way. KIBO’s block-based coding language gives children control over the robot’s movements, sounds, and sensors, allowing them to express their imaginations with code. The KIBO curriculum for educators also teaches children to tell stories, create characters, and explore the world around them through code. KIBO is the number one choice in screen-free coding for kids – trusted by more parents and schools to introduce today’s youth to the wonders of technology and robotics.