Third Graders Code Active Games for Younger Students

Iona Prep seniors Gavin Blenk and Angelo Squillante, freshman Nigel Presume and junior Michael Punzalan continued the 35-year partnership the New Rochelle private school has with Hawthorne Country Day School.

Bronxville Elementary School third graders – who coded active video games in technology specialist Claire Hollocou’s class – engaged second graders to play their original games. During the collaboration, the younger students stepped on squares that changed colors and sounds as part of games that either had a countdown, kept score or interacted with other players.


“Teaching the games to the younger students helped the third graders practice public speaking, communicate themselves clearly and model appropriate behavior,” Hollocou said. “It was awesome to see their ability to try out ideas and change them along the way as needed. Not only were they applying their coding knowledge to a new, more complicated platform, but they were also using design thinking strategies to stay flexible and problem solve.” 


For their project, the third graders observed the second graders play games using the Unruly Splats, a learning tool that combines coding games for kids with active play, to note what kept them engaged and active. Then, they came up with their own game ideas and coded the program on Unruly Splats before encouraging the second graders to try out a beta version of their games. 


“Third graders ideated and coded games that would get younger students to move their bodies as they played,” Hollocou said. “Students needed to use and build their understanding of conditionals, loops, variables and user-generated input to code these games.” 


Hollocou said the students developed their critical thinking and leadership skills while also solving problems and making necessary adjustments to their games. In addition, she said the students took a skill they felt confident in and passed it along to their younger peers.