It’s a Tuesday afternoon in Rosemary Harris’ Grade 3 class at Hawthorne Elementary School. Each student is equipped with a laptop or tablet, but instead of being students, they are being teachers.
Every student has invited a parent, grandparent or Grade 7 buddy to join him or her in class today to instruct them on how to computer code.
“You’re smarter than your grandma!” exclaims a grandfather who came with his wife to learn about coding from their granddaughter.
Harris’ grade three class is taking part in Hour of Code, a worldwide event aimed at demystifying code by demonstrating that anyone can learn the basics.
Harris’ Grade 3 students are already computer savvy, as they blog every day as a way of connecting their learning with life beyond the classroom. The students have also been preparing for the Hour of Code by learning the basics of coding in advance.
“I decided to teach my students how to code because I noticed that coding is regularly talked about but not understood. It really is just the function of how electronics work,” said Harris. “This is the world our students are living in and we need to teach them from where they are.”
Coding engages a higher level of thinking by evoking problem solving and critical thinking. It connects learning to 21st century skills.
“Plus, the students love it so there is built-in engagement,” said Harris.
Nathan, a Grade 7 student at Hawthorne Elementary, took part in the Hour of Code last year. He thought it was a cool way to teach coding basics and it sparked an interest in him.
“I kind of fell in love with it,” said Nathan.
He is connecting coding to his Math Stretch lessons by programming the problems into his computer. He has done things such as simulate the evolution of bacteria, create fractal generators and build carding games.
While it is yet to be seen if any of Harris’ current Grade 3 students will take away the same enthusiasm for coding as Nathan did from the Hour of Code, it is evident that all of the students are engaged in coding.
Harris decided to use the Hour of Code as a way for students to actively demonstrate their learning, which is why parents, grandparents and Grade 7 buddies were invited in. The students taught them how to code and by the end of the hour the parents, grandparents and buddies were coding too.
And Harris’ class is not the only class that took part in the Hour of Code. Kindergarten students at Hawthorne Elementary also took part, as did students in other schools in Delta. Grade 7 students at Cliff Drive Elementary were eagerly involved, as were Grade 5 and 6 students at Sunshine Hills Elementary.
“Students logged onto code.org where they were led through an online tutorial that introduced them to the basics of coding through two different platforms and allowed them to create their own games,” said Mareva Hope, a teacher at Sunshine Hills Elementary.
“Students were writing over 200 lines of code.”
For more information about the Hour of Code, visit hourofcode.com