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Eastern Christian Elementary School participated in the Hour of Code last week, as a special celebration for Computer Science Week. The Hour of Code is an excellent introduction for learners of all ages to help them gain an understanding of what coding is. The Hour of Code also helps students see that coding can be a lot of fun and gives them an opportunity to pursue more coding opportunities online if they enjoy it.

EC Elementary School Horizons teacher, Meredith Kohlbrenner, led the Hour of Code for all students from kindergarten through fourth grade. The Hour of Code event was not only for students. Teachers and administrators were also invited to try coding alongside the students. Some students were able to enjoy special guest appearances by EC Head of School, Tom Dykhouse; EC Chief Education Officer, Ruth Kuder; EC School Business Administrator Mark Jacobus; and Web Designer and EC Father, Jeff Dyksen. Students enjoyed being able to work with the new faces and the guests enjoyed watching how the students worked out their coding puzzles.

Participants engaged in age appropriate coding activities that taught them how to move a character on either an iPad or computer to a desired location using specific commands. Coding was likened to asking a computer to make a sandwich. The computer would not understand the command “make me a sandwich” but must have specific commands to put each part of the sandwich together, such as {“item”: “bread”, “type”: “wheat”}.

Students who participated in the Hour of Code were taught logical thinking and were encouraged to test out their code by trying out each step to see what their character would do. Students realized that they learn best by making mistakes and they can always go back and redo their work if they hit roadblocks. They were also encouraged to work with each other if they got stuck. Students became teachers to each other and they all looked for each other’s success!

The consensus at the end of the event was that participants enjoyed the challenge of the puzzles presented in their coding sessions. While some students were frustrated by not being able to figure out a puzzle, their victory was that much sweeter when they conquered it! As our culture moves more and more into reliance on the digital world, we will need well-prepared coders and computer programmers to continue to develop software for our fast-paced online lives. At this point in history, it doesn’t seem that there will be enough highly skilled coders to meet that need, so it is important that we expose our students to coding and the opportunities it can give them.

Specific coding curriculum is currently being developed and implemented in nearly all elementary school grade levels, giving them more opportunities to “play” with computer programming.

Parents- want to try it for yourself? You can try your hand at coding by performing simple online search for “hour of code.” You will find a variety of free online games that will challenge your logical thinking. One of our favorites is lightbot (link here).

Stephanie Tanis

By: Stephanie Tanis

Stephanie Tanis is EC's Elementary School and Middle School Educational Technology Specialist. She's also a very proud EC mom!

Read More Articles by Stephanie Tanis
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