A SPRINKLE OF TECHNOLOGY
"In fifteen years we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing . . . and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner."
The Hour of Code is a global movement to teach kids all over the world about computer science. The goal in doing this is to help break stereotypes and leave students feeling empowered. The fundamental theme behind this movement is that ANYONE can code and ANYONE can learn.
The idea of coding can be intimidating, which is why many teachers avoid it. However, there are many programs and resources out there that can make the beginning process incredibly easy and FUN! Most programs start off very simple and then increase in difficulty as you go and there are resources available for K-12 classrooms.
Below are 4 of my favorite resources for introducing coding to your students.
If you are interested in The Hour of Code, hourofcode.com is a great place to start. It has promotion ideas & resources, student-guided tutorials and linked activities for all grade levels - including pre-reader all the way to high school.
Students can filter activities based on technology, topics, coding language and more.
3. Swift Playground (iOS app for iPads)
Swift Playground is an app specifically for iPads that turns learning to code into a fun, interactive set of games called "Playgrounds". Students will solve interactive puzzles in order to learn the core concepts and language of coding.
Using a drag/drop feature at first, students will work their way through the levels writing single lines of code to control a character with specific commands. For example, the task in a beginning level could be as simple as moving the character from one square to another. After creating the code, students can immediately try it out to see how it will play out. The immediate feedback helps facilitate engagement and excitement!
2. Made w/Code by Google
According to the Made w/Code website, 74% of girls in the United States express interest in STEM in middle school; however, by high school, only 0.4% of teen girls plan to pursue or major in Computer Science. Made w/Code by Google was started to encourage teen girls to follow their passion for science and technology.
There are many projects to check out on the website, but Wonder Woman is a fun way to get started. Students will work to create sequences to help Wonder Woman escape the scene. As the levels increase, so does the difficulty. Within in a few levels students will be exposed to variables, sequences, loops, and conditionals!
According to their website, Code.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation with girls and underrepresented minorities. If you are interested in trying out simple coding for yourself or your students - this is the place to start!
There are lots of FREE games, courses and resources (including posters, handouts, and videos) to help you promote coding or Hour of Code in your school or district.
The Hour of Code page has resources for all ages and students can choose a game that interests them. Here are a few places to start:
Once of my favorite games is called Dance Party. Students code characters to perform specific dance moves (floss, dab, drop, etc.) set to music by some of their favorite artists including Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, and more! Students can program the characters to perform move to the beat of the selected music.
There are teacher resources, including a lesson plan AND a Dance Party Unplugged activity - with no computers needed!
Star Wars - Build a Galaxy with Code
Use code to join Anna and Elsa as they explore the magic and beauty of ice! The game starts out with a video to engage and tell students a little bit about coding before they begin.
An Hour of Code classic! Use the Angry Birds characters to try out the basics of computer science and coding.
I am a teacher, Digital Learning Specialist, presenter, wife, mom, Google nerd, and life long learner. I am dedicated to finding and sharing easy, quick, and engaging resources for use in every classroom!