Our third and fourth graders started participating in Hour of Code tutorials and writing code regularly in their STEAM classes two years ago, rapidly progressing from initially having no experience to now writing it confidently and with increasing complexity. It’s truly incredible to see how far they have come! Throughout the school year, they are encouraged to use a number of free iPad apps, including Kodable, Daisy the Dinosaur, Scratch Jr. as well as Light Bot, in various classes.
For this year’s Hour of Code, both grades drew on their experience with Kodable to take Hour of Code’s Minecraft and Star Wars tutorials. Because of their strong baseline understanding of the concepts, they were able to jump right in!
First grade students got an introduction to coding, learning the basics of sequencing and patterns. To do this, students worked in pairs with one student playing the role of a robot while the other played the role of a programmer. The programmer had to to get the robot to perform basic activities like opening a door or writing her/his name, paying attention to order and detail for each step. Once they completed these tasks, they got a basic introduction into programing on a computer through the Kodable app.
Second grade students built on their Kodable knowledge to use the LightBot Jr. app as their Hour of Code activity. Our teachers report that it’s a great next step in learning how to program.
In the Middle School, a team from Google visited and spoke to students as they worked with Google Expeditions and Google Cardboard, a virtual reality (VR) platform developed for use with a fold-out cardboard mount for a mobile phone, intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR.
The Upper School’s Computer Science experience came from Google Code-in. A second team from Google came to the school to help launch our students’ participation in this contest, which was designed to introduce 13-17 year olds to open source software development. Since 2010, over 2,200 students from 87 countries have completed work in the contest. The contest runs from December 7, 2015 – January 25, 2016.