Coding in K-5 STEM
The second week of December is Computer Science Education Week in honor of computer science pioneer, Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. This special week promotes computer science education, centering on the worldwide coding initiative, Hour of CodeTM . Hour of CodeTM was created to encourage and equip students with the tools to try coding for one hour. In the words of Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org, "Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket science—anybody can learn the basics."
There are many coding platforms that launch engaging tutorials in time for Hour of CodeTM. Code.org, CS First, Kahn Academy and Tynker are just some of the many Hour of CodeTM partners that strive to provide fun and engaging coding experiences for all ages and skill levels. The tutorials remain available to students throughout the year. Over 100 million students from more than 180 countries participate in Hour of CodeTM activities!
Why is coding so important? In 2015, 7 million job opportunities required coding skills of some kind1. Computer coding is now integrated into almost every field; from art and design to healthcare, sports, agriculture and education, some coding skills are necessary, and will be increasingly so as our children enter the workforce in 10-15 years.
SCASD K-5 STEM students are building skills and gearing up for a code-filled future. Though Hour of CodeTM may, for many students across the globe and even across our state, be the only coding opportunity of the year, SCASD students are incredibly fortunate to have coding resources at their fingertips and integrated into their STEM curriculum year-long. In STEM, all students have the opportunity to work through coding courses in Code.org. Third, fourth and fifth grade students develop their skills further in Scratch, a free coding platform created by MIT, while Kindergarten, first and second grade students apply their coding skills in Scratch, Jr., and Kodable. Coding skills are also reinforced with Ozobots, BeeBots, Botley, SamLabs and Tinkercad, as well as through a variety of unplugged activities that develop an understanding of coding basics such as sequence, loops, and if-then-else conditionals.
For most of our older students, the favorite Hour of CodeTM tutorial by far is Code.org’s Dance Party. Have you ever wanted to make an animated sloth do the floss to Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” while a disco ball spins and ten tiny unicorns dab in the background? This is all possible through code in Dance Party.
As winter storms on, stay warm and ask your student about their wondrous coding creations!
- Statistic from www.code.org. Accessed 12/10/19.