This is a lesson designed to teach students with visual impairments how to play Code Quest. In this lesson, students will be exploring various tactile graphics, using mapping skills, and learning early coding concepts. Approximate time for this lesson is 90 minutes.
This lesson is designed for a middle school class of students who are blind or have low vision. Ideally, you will want to have six to eight students, in groups of two. It will be extremely helpful if students have had regular exposure to tactile graphics because they will be especially important for this lesson.
For this lesson, you will need four iPads with the free CodeQuest app loaded (for 8 students), the 4 copies of the CodeQuest tactile graphics, and wikisticks for the mapping portion (optional).
Start the class by asking students what they think coding is. Explain that coding is the instructions for running the computer. Without code, the computer would not be able to run. This game is a fun way for students to learn code by providing step by step direction for the astronaut to reach the spaceship.
For this lesson, students will need to be in pairs. One student will examine the tactile graphics and share what they think the code should be, the other student will use the iPad to input the code.
Work through the first level with students. Explain how to use the tactile graphics and the process for inputting the code.
Based on experience and ability of students, you can assign each pair of students a different level and page in the tactile graphics book starting with page 2 or the same page. The goal is for each pair to discuss their challenges and solutions at the end of class.
The lesson introduction including explaining code, discussion of the app, and providing the directions for playing should take about 20 minutes. Give students 40 minutes to play there assigned level. Check in with each pair periodically to ensure understanding of the task. If students say they do not understand something on the graphics, tell them to refer to the key at the beginning. If students do not know proper technique for exploring tactile graphics, assist them in exploring the graphic, even giving small hints about the path from the astronaut to the spaceship. For example, if the student is trying to move through a breakable wall, you could say, “Can we move through walls in real life? We cannot in this game either, we must find a path around the wall.” You could even provide wikistix for students to draw a map from one point to another.
When students have completed their level, each pair will walk to the front of the room and give an oral presentation about there experiences. Each pair will share the level they were assigned, who used the graphics, who wrote the code, and the challenges they overcame while working. These presentations do not need to be long, two minutes for each.
To conclude this lesson, review what it means to code, and emphasize that students overcame challenges while completing this activity. Check for questions from students.
Pictured are samples of CodeQuest 3D tactile objects that can be provided to students who need additional support. Different colors for each type of object can be used for students who can see color. Files for printing these tactile objects can be found at CodeQuest (iPad App) | American Printing House (aph.org).
This lesson is aligned to the following standards.
North Carolina Digital Learning Standards for Empowered Learner (adopted from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students and designed to be integrating into other content areas):
North Carolina English Language Arts Standards for Speaking and Listening Standards (below are examples from grade 6)
As part of the NC Digital Learning Planning Grant, the GMS staff developed the following presentations and lessons to share. Please enjoy!
Editor’s Note: Links to these coding lessons will be added as the lessons are published on Paths to Technology.
By Cynthia Mathis
Assistive Technology Specialist at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind
Assistive Technology Consultant