We are surrounded by technology in today’s world. Many students have their own tablets and phones, but few are learning how computers actually work. Simple computer science activities can help build creativity and problem solving skills. Exposing students to computational thinking early will offer them a foundation for success in any future career path.
The Hour of Code campaign organized by Code.org aimed to demystify computer science for students worldwide by introducing them to computer programming. The event was held during Computer Science Education Week from December 7-13, 2014.
All students at William D’Abate Elementary School, from grades K-5, participated in coding activities. The students watched a brief video to introduce the Hour of Code. The video included appearances from many well know figures, such as Chris Bosch, Shakira, Ashton Kutcher, Bill Gates, Mark Zucherburg, and President Obama. They promoted the importance of computer science, math and technology in our world.
The students worked independently, in pairs, or in groups to complete the hour of coding activities. The most popular activities were Angry Birds, Light Bot, and Frozen, new this year. Students had to write lines of code to direct figures around mazes and puzzles to complete the desired action.
Students used a form of code called Blockly. There were blocks with commands written on them that the students had to click, drag, and drop into place to create commands. If an incorrect command was created, students needed to figure out which line of code they made a mistake on and go back and revise their commands. The activities were completed on desktops, laptops, SMART boards, and iPad apps.
Students were very excited to be able to participate in this event. They worked cooperatively with others to solve problems. The activities required much problem-solving, strategizing, analyzing, and revising to correctly complete the commands. Students actively engaged in thinking and processing throughout the duration of the activities. It was great to hear the cheers of excitement when students finally figured out how to program a puzzle that was challenging for them.