I love the Hour of Code project and I think it’s fabulous to get students as early as kindergarten thinking about how things work and how that might shape their future goals and career path. How cool would it be to create your own game rather than consume a game someone else made? How cool would it be to make other people’s lives easier as a result of something you created by becoming a computer programmer? Those are just some of the questions I am asking my students. This week, along with millions worldwide, my students are participating in the Hour of Code in each of my classes. I set up nine stations around the room and had the students interacting with robots, iPad apps, and Code.org resources, which allowed students the opportunity to experience writing computer programs. Here is a website I put together to have my students experience the Hour of Code websites, which encourages students to begin writing and creating blocks of code.
I had been wanting robots to teach my students programming for a few years now, so I wrote a grant, created a talent show video and sold the DVDs, and won a video contest to purchase the robots for my students to use. We have the Osmo, Sphero, Sphero Sprk, Ollie, and Dash and Dot. Additionally, there are great iPad apps where students can learn to program objects on their screens. Today, we used Hopscotch, Daisy the Dinosaur, and Scratch Jr. Code.org also has so many fabulous resources! I know my students will be trying those out as soon as they get home from school! Another fun thing I did was creating mazes out of painters tape–it was a hit today! The students loved trying to program the robots to stay within the lines and follow the course, but it definitely is harder than it looks and requires much perseverance! Today was critical thinking at its best!
If you’re looking for inspiration to put together your own Hour of Code, here are the stations I set up in the computer lab:
One more thing, if you are interested in learning a non-traditional way to teach coding, check out my iTunes U course, which is called The Key(note) to Coding. It is all about using Keynote for the Mac to create Tangram shapes while noting the size, placement, and rotation of the shapes to then write the code for someone to re-create!