Year 4 Rationale.
Like previous years the Year 4 computing curriculum begins with an online safety unit. Year 4 pupils delve deeper into online safety and begin the unit with exploring identify theft and how they can protect themselves from this. The children learn about certain symbols such as the ‘padlock’ symbol to protect their identity online. As taught in Year 2 and 3, children are reminded that information online leaves a digital footprint. In addition to this, children move forward in the unit by identifying the risks and benefits of installing software including apps. They learn the term ‘malware’ and understand that it is a type of software specifically designed to disrupt, damage or gain access to a computer. The children define what a computer virus is also. Furthermore, Year 4 pupils explore and understand the term ‘plagiarism’ whilst identifying appropriate behaviour when participating or contributing to collaborative online projects for learning such as citing resources etc. Finally, Year 4 pupils learn to take more ownership of their activities online and learn how to use their free time, recognising that they need a balance between active and digital activities. They use their reasoning skills surrounding the topic of limiting screen time.
Just like Year 3, the coding unit begins by recapping previous vocabulary. The unit starts by Year 4 pupils using a sketch or storyboard to represent a program design and an algorithm. This is followed by pupils creating a code that conforms to their design. Pupils then create an ‘if/else’ statement and begin to understand what a variable is in programming and learn to set/change the variable rules appropriately. In addition to this, pupils interpret a flowchart that depicts an if/else flowchart. Further into the unit, pupils enhance their coding skills further by programming an object to respond to user keyboard input. Pupils then create their own timers and counting machines using variables to print a new number to the screen every second. Year 4 pupils explore how to use the programme 2Code to investigate control by creating a simulation (previously explored in Year 3). Finally, pupils understand what decomposition and abstraction is in Computer Science and apply this knowledge by attempting to breakdown their aims for a coding task into achievable steps.
In Year 4 the spreadsheets unit is revisited and pupils are given the opportunity to enhance and improve their skills. Pupils begin with using number formatting tools within 2Calculate to appropriately format numbers. Pupils learn how to add formula to a cell and automatically make a calculation. Pupils explore and learn to use timer, random number, spin button and a combination of these tools to explore numbers in a fun way. Line graphs are also explored and a series of data helps pupils to create one. Pupils learn to make practical use of a spreadsheet and use the currency formatting in 2Calculate to do some budgeting. Finally, pupils gain the skill of allocating values to images to explore place value and use a spreadsheet made in 2Calculate to check their understanding of a variety of mathematical concepts (cross curricular links).
Through the writing for different audiences’ unit links can be made with the Year 4 English Unit for Spring. Pupils begin to explore how font size ad style can affect impact of a text. In addition to this, pupils produce a newspaper report using a simulated scenario. Links with History could be made here and pupils can base their report on The Great Plague. To end the unit pupils’, use a simulated scenario for a community campaign, basing it on a local issue. The 2Connect programme is used by pupils to mind map ideas to then write a persuasive letter or poster. Finally, pupils evaluate what they have done against success criteria to judge suitability for the intended audience.
Through the logo unit Year 4 pupils start with understanding that logo is a text based coding language. Pupils learn the structure of this language an input simple instructions using logo. Using 2Logo pupils create letter shapes by writing a set of instructions beforehand. Pupils then learn to follow Logo code to predict outcomes and create shapes using the repeat function in the program. Towards the end of the unit, pupils will be ready to use and build procedures in Logo by using the taught features.
In the animation unit, pupils begin with discussing what makes a good animated film or cartoons are whilst sharing their favourites and learning how to create animations by hand. They find out how 2Animate can be created in a similar way using a computer. Pupils then move onto learning about onion skinning to animate images. Furthermore, pupils add backgrounds and sounds to animations. In this unit pupils are introduced to ‘stop motion’ animation. Using existing stop motion animation films, pupils recreate their own animation and share this on a class display board and by blogging.
Year 4 pupils build and enhance on skills from their effective searching unit in Year 2. They recap locating information on a search results page. Pupils then learn how to effectively use search to find out information to answer a series of questions in addition to also writing their own search questions for friends to solve. They build on their reliability and trust work from Year 3 and think carefully if information is trustworthy by analysing the contents of a webpage for clues about the credibility of information.
The final unit of the school year in Year 4 is a short one about being hardware investigators. Pupils learn about different parts of a computer and how some of these parts function.