Is your class taking part in #Hourofcode this coming week?
The background: Coding is part of computer science which is involved in our digital technology curriculum. But many teachers shy away from this, so a global effort has been made to make it easier to join in coding in the classroom.
Computer science involves problem solving, creativity and logical thinking. So hour of code takes place during Computer Science Education Week (USA) and this year is 4-10 December. Find out more basic information here. This page explains the process and includes a video to watch. You can also print out certificates to give to the students who complete the hour of code activity.
I decided to help a teacher friend run an hour of code in her grade 1/2 classroom but could I find an activity that would be suitable? I checked out the Hour of Code one hour tutorials and found one for grade 2-5 relating to Elsa and Anna from Frozen.
When I was in the classroom, I explained to the children they were going to help teach Elsa and Anna how to skate and make beautiful snowflake patterns. I worked with 4 children for the first hour or so and had them run the tutorial on their own. There were a few questions, some help given by me and some comments were:
This is too hard …… wow I did it!
Can you help me? … to the student sitting next to them
I’m up to puzzle 6 .. wow
How did you do that?
Why is it going over that way? I’ll change that number.
In the session after lunch, these four children became the experts and could wander around the lab if students had questions. When all students were in the computer lab, I worked through the first couple of puzzles to show students:
- how to click blocks together
- what happened using start over
- reading instructions carefully
After seeing most were having a go at the puzzles using Repeat blocks, I gathered them together again to do some more explaining about using repeat blocks and how to drag lots of connected blocks into a repeat block.
About 20 minutes before school finished, we went back to the classroom. Some students had completed to puzzle 6, others were on 10 and some had got to puzzle 20. Fantastic work for grade 1/2 students who had no idea of coding before that lesson.
Their teacher mentioned she had got to about level 6 and then had troubles working out the next level on her own so was glad someone was there to help her get to the next part of the game.
What had the students learnt from this lesson on coding?
- how to ask great questions
- thinking logically
- take a guess, test, make changes, test again
- read instructions
- working with a partner
- feeling of accomplishment as they completed each level
Digital technology curriculum
Foundation to year 2: Digital Technologies processes and production skills
Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems
Teachers: Here is a great resource for incorporating digital technologies into your curriculum.
Readers: Have you taken part in #HourofCode with your students? Which activity did they do? What did they learn from it? What did you as their teacher learn from it?