Hour of Code 2016

Code.org 

From December 5th-11th my EFL students participated in the Hour of Code from Code.org and learned about coding through some unplugged activities with board games from ThinkFun. 

On the first day, my students learned about coding through the new Minecraft Designer activities on the Code.org website. Students coded the behavior's of the different mobs found in Minecraft. Last year students coded Steve or Alex around a virtual world. However, this year students were able to code the individual behaviors of some of the most popular mobs. For examples, students coded cows to follow them and zombies to spawn at night and attack them. Over all my students enjoyed the experience. However, my more experienced students said that it was a little too easy this year. Most of them were able to finish the activity in less than 30 minutes. 

Unplugged Activities 

My fourth grade students playing Code Master and Clue Master from ThinkFun. 

On the second day of coding, students learned computational thinking, problem solving, and teamwork through 3 board games from ThinkFun: Clue Master, Code Master, and Laser Maze. Students split into pairs and worked on one board game for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes students switched games and worked on different puzzles. After 30 minutes my students come together as one group and completed the challenges in the Laser Maze. 

I was glad that I introduced more unplugged activity this year. Students worked well together and  learned a lot about problem solving and computational thinking.  Of all the activities, Laser Maze proved to be the most popular and the most challenging. Students enjoyed seeing the laser bounce off mirrors and hit the targets. 

Reflecting 

After two days of coding students reflected on their experiences in their coding journals. My students have been keeping coding journals in Book Creator for the past 2 years. In their journals they added photos of their certificates and screenshots of their code. Each student wrote about the code they learned as well as their feelings about the experience. 

Conclusion 

My goal for the Hour of Code was to get students excited about coding and to expose my students to the world of coding. We will be hosting a Littlebits workshop at the start of our winter break in January and I am happy to say that most of my students are very excited to participate. 

After vacation I plan to open weekly STEAM classes using Littlebits, Swift Playgrounds, Podpi, and Bloxels.