Teaching Computer Science with Turing Tumble

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What if you could show your students how a computer works using touch, hearing, reading, and sight?

I have always learned by sight. I never wanted the formula, I wanted to SEE how the formula worked-and why. I didn’t want to just be able to plug it in, but rather to understand the why visually.

Maybe this is why computers were always so mysterious and riddled to me. I could never unpack what it was that makes a computer work.  I couldn’t see it. My brother could. He was designing software to make video games for local companies while we were still in high school. But my brain doesn’t process the same way his does.

I laughed when I was recently asked to teach a lesson on how a computer works because for me, technology has always been a bit…fuzzy? Confounding? Sometimes downright infuriating!

I marvel at K-8 educators because to some degree one has to be an expert on ALL things.  And students these days are smart. How does one prepare for the questions they purport??

Maybe it is my need for perfectionism, but I think daily classroom teaching would be intimidating and teaching on a topic that one is not the most comfortable, such as how a computer works, sounds altogether daunting to me. 

Turing Tumble has helped me conceptualize what is inside an electronic computer because it is a mechanical computer that allows us to feel, hear, and see how a computer works.  It has helped me tremendously to visually interpret the path of switches connected together performing clever tasks. Turing Tumble not only engages learners with multiple modalities, it helps educators, who may be as confounded as I was, how to teach logic, coding and programming.

I know some of you teachers do have a clear grasp on the inner workings of a computer, and Turing Tumble has, or will, become an engaging tool for you to use in the classroom.  You are the educators who may find our additional resources a nice change of pace and structure during your lesson planning. Our concise computer logic lessons in our educator guide are right up your alley!  Or maybe you will appreciate being able to use one of our videos on your smartboard to share with your students.

 For those of you, like me, whose primary strengths lie in other areas, we have many resources for you!  There are additional practice puzzles so you can really feel like you have a good grasp on the content before working through it with your kids.  We also have videos that you may enjoy sharing with your class to demonstrate some of the topics you are less familiar with.

Our goal at Turing Tumble is to provide educators with everything needed to implement Turing Tumble seamlessly into the classroom.  We have brought Turing Tumble into numerous local classrooms and have learned a lot of tips and tricks you may find useful, such as having students play with the board inside of the box top so that marbles aren’t bouncing all over the room! Or having students run their finger along the board to track the path of the marble to determine their next placement.

We have a section of our website that is dedicated specifically to the resources educators may find helpful when implementing Turing Tumble in the classroom.  Here is a quick look at some of the resources we have available on our educator page found on our website:

 

  1.       The Educator Guide:

This gives concise explanations of the computer logic learned in each puzzle so that teachers don’t have to play through all of the puzzles to feel comfortable.

 

  1.       Videos:

We have two videos ready for your class. The first video is an introduction by youth that includes all the essentials of starting the game. The second is a video lesson describing how Turing Tumble is a computer. (Comical tidbit being I am the subject in the video!)  These videos can be shown on a Smartboard for your class, or you can watch them and summarize the content for your students.

 

  1.       The Practice Guide:

Our Practice Guide gives additional prompts to difficult lessons as well as printable materials for use in the classroom.

 

  1.       Blog Posts:

Look for on-going blog posts that will give helpful tidbits, and highlight parts of the educator guide and other resources like the online simulators that can be pulled up on a Smartboard and used to work through a puzzle as a class.

 

Our goal at Turing Tumble is to provide our educators with the resources that will best help you to facilitate learning, regardless of your technological background.

If you are preparing for your upcoming school-year and will be implementing Turing Tumble, please reach out if you encounter any roadblocks along the way by emailing anna@turingtumble.com.  We are here to help!  For those of you who used Turing Tumble in your class last year or in your summer program, were there any challenges you encountered?  Do you have any helpful ideas for teachers getting started? Please share with us! We are eager to connect with and support our educators.  And if teaching about computers seems complicated at first glance, one view of our computer video should give you all of the confidence you need to know that those abstract black boxes are less impenetrable than they first appear!

 

EDUCATOR DISCOUNT ALERT: If you have not yet purchased Turing Tumble for your classroom, don’t forget to email us at hello@turingTumble.com to get the educator discount.  We love our educators!

 


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