Third-graders at Mullen and Riverview are learning the concepts of computer coding through enrichment instruction and a free website.
Elementary enrichment teacher Kim Honeck has visited third-grade classes at the two schools to start teaching students what computer coding is. In the free Hour of Code section on www.code.org, students can pick themes that appeal to them such as Minecraft, Star Wars or Frozen.
Each theme takes the students through various levels of puzzles that use drag-and-drop boxes to code movement on the screen. The puzzles start out easy and get harder as the lessons progress. The students can redo a puzzle level if they get it wrong. Mrs. Honeck urged them to be thoughtful and do some problem-solving to correct the movement.
“This is awesome. It’s a puzzle. And when you are done doing it, you can see it move,” said Mullen third-grader Olivia Radice. She was partnering with Matthew Schmutzler who said, “You can see what made it go.”
Mrs. Honeck showed the students how to drag and click the boxes together and the button that translates the drag and drop boxes into JAVA script, the coding language.
The puzzles require reading, problem solving and can reinforce math concepts. For instance, in the Code with Anna and Elsa from the Frozen theme, users are asked to create stars using angles.
“You can make your own games and puzzles,” said Mullen third-grader Morgan Scott. Her partner, Alexander Dinse, thought it was pretty awesome that he could make the figures move.
“This is not a subject taught at school, but there are so many computer science jobs,” said Mrs. Honeck. “We are getting to these students when they are younger. It’s their first introduction to coding.”
The district’s STEAM coordinator Renee Brady and Mrs. Honeck worked together to get students to try an hour of coding in honor of Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 7-11.