Following on from the previous post in the ‘Alternatives to Scratch’ series I thought I would share Blockly Games, I was first introduced to this by Julian Wood, who is an amazing teacher CAS Master Teacher and speaker who’s constantly sharing new and exciting ideas for the classroom. Blockly Games is a Block based programming software that is available online and simple to use and exciting for children.

Blockly Games Puzzle

Blockly Games

Blockly Games is availiable here, what I like about it is that it covers the basics of Block Programming. There are Loops, Conditionals, Coordinates, Basic AI and Javascript. This is enough to make anyone think computationally. I think Blockly Games is definitely suitable for a unit of work as it’s similar to Scratch but a lot simpler- so if your class have used Scratch before they should get the hang of it quickly. Although, Blockly Games would also be good for a first lesson on programming for everyone and can come in handy in many programming lessons for Year 3-6 children. Some activities can also serve as an hour of code topic starter. What’s good about Blockly Games is that at times it can still be challenging for learners. It’s just simpler, but enough to cover a lot of programming concepts with 7 Activities:

Puzzle: This is a fun game that serves as a quick introduction to Blocks, users need to sort the pictures of the animals and insects using the blockly bricks. Once the traits and pictures are properly entered players click check answers and the pictures will sort themselves and tell players they have been successful.

 

Maze: The maze game is great because it introduces Loops and Conditionals in a fun and exciting way. Players guide a character through a maze that looks a lot like Google maps. There are 10 levels and before long it will challenge your class, especially when they have only 4 blocks and need to use loops and conditionals to go around the maze. Also, when players complete a level they see a Javascript version of what they have programmed.

 

Bird: Bird starts to involve more Complex Conditionals as well as angles and Coordinates. The game involves a bird which is taken worms to its nest. Before long, this builds to using coordinates and else, if, and if else statements and it really gets difficult quickly.

 

Turtle:  For anyone who has used Floor Turtles, Roamers, Beebots or Logo based programmes it can be really exciting and challenging to design and draw shapes. Blockly Games can do this just like others programs and just like the other games on this website there are 10 levels that progress steadily and still provide a challenge.

 

There are some other features to Blockly Games but at the moment with my class I haven’t gone onto those yet. The other games available are:

  • Movie
  • Pond Tutor
  • Pond

Blockly Games Puzzle

Final Thoughts

Finally, I would say varying the programs that children code with can have advantages it keeps engagement and enjoyment. Also, by changing the format that children are using their programming skills it could help their understanding of these principles. I think this as when learners do similar things on different programs for the same outcome it demonstrates that they really understand how to do it. I would like to add that Blockly Games is not as open as Scratch where you can experiment introducing your own media.

Thanks,

Adam