Coding, Anyone?

Computer Science Education Week kicked off Monday, and to celebrate, teachers and students throughout GSB once again participated in an Hour of Code, a global educational event that encourages an hour of class time dedicated to coding. Although the activities looked different for all three school divisions, each embraced coding in unique ways.

"Coding is an important skill for students to learn and can translate into a career one day," said Middle School Technology Education Teacher Carrie Johnson, who engaged her fifth graders in coding throughout the week. "Coding can be challenging, but my students have a lot of perseverance, and they're excited to complete their coding tasks."

Using Lightbot and other educational coding games, Mrs. Johnson's students learned about software programming steps. "The coding games teach strategic skills and students learn the programming to get an object to move from point A to point B," she added.

At the Lower School, third graders used Hour of Code's Dance Party! program found at www.code.org. Students learned to create sequences of code to direct their dancer and back-up dancers to dance to a song. "Dance Party! has at least 20 songs to choose and guides students step by step through the coding process with detailed instructions and videos with coders and artists," said Lia Carruthers, Lower and Middle School librarian. "At the end of the coding project, they create a dance routine to download, and students will spend a class watching each other's dances." For her preschoolers, Ms. Carruthers led coding exercises on the SMART board with activities in One Hour of Code Monkey Jr., a fun, interactive program that teaches thinking skills and coding basics using blocks that features a money searching for bananas.

The Upper School recently spent its Hour of Code in AP Computer Science Principles class, using the Lightbot app. "Students wrote in a simplified code language that controlled a 'robot,' while solving puzzles of increasing difficulty," said Computer Science Teacher Ian Prevost. "This activity serves both to reinforce programming logic and to show students how these concepts can be generalized to apply to a variety of apparently dissimilar environments."

With GSB's Hour of Code participation, it joins tens of millions of students from more than 180 countries. This world-wide effort seeks to make computer science accessible to all students and to show that anyone can learn the basics. Computer Science Week is recognized annually in honor of the late Admiral Grace Murry Hopper's birthday, an American computer scientist pioneer and U.S. Navy rear admiral who first devised the theory of machine-independent programming languages.

GSB students are certainly in good company. Code on, everyone!