BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Smart Homes (Code: STEM) (available here)
Author: Max Wainewright
Illustrator: John Haslam
Publication Date: March 2019
Most Suitable For: Years 4-6
Reviewed By: Reviewed By: Claire, Headteacher
Smart Homes (Code: Stem) takes the popular ‘Scratch’ programme and supports children in using it to create Scratch coding projects that imitate ‘Smart’ household appliances. For example, there is a project that shows children how vacuuming robots work and one that imitates a burglar alarm. The book is bright and engaging. Each page gives step by step instructions to support the coding projects, with useful hints to help with the more complicated aspects.
There are little text boxes that offer questions to the reader, such as ‘How about making music play automatically when the cat goes into the room?’ These really encourage children to think quite creatively with the programme, with the result that Scratch can be used in a far more advanced and meaningful way.
I also found that the online help was a really useful feature of the book as it walked me through the projects, with video and commentary, as well as giving some extensions if I really wanted to challenge myself. The book presumes that the reader has some knowledge of Scratch prior to starting the topics so it would not be appropriate for beginners to coding.
It’s a great book to support the Computing programme of study within upper Key Stage Two and would link brilliantly with cross curricular topics about ‘Inventors and Inventions’.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Claire for reviewing it.