Teaching Coding Through Hands-On Experiences

6 October, 2016

The case for teaching students to code is becoming greater and greater with new research on the value of computational thinking and problem solving. In Christopher Mims article “Why Coding Is Your Child’s Key to Unlocking the Future”, he argues that programming and this type of thinking is a necessity for children to learn about the processes of the world and to be employable in the 21st century. It is also growingly imperative for students to learn these skills at a young age, as early as preschool. With budget cuts and technology not readily available in all learning environments, it may be helpful to know how to introduce coding activities to students without the bells and whistles of an app or software. Here are some ideas for you to implement in your classroom.

If-Then Game: We’ve all learned about “If-Then” statements in a math class at some point of another. This is a cornerstone for how programming works. Left Brain Craft Brain provides a fun backyard game that will help children of all ages understand how If-Then statements work. It also gets kids outside and moving! Great for kinesthetic learners too.

Coding with LEGO: Do you have LEGO pieces in your house? Use them for something else besides building! Little Bins for Little Hands shares tips on using LEGO pieces to teach binary code.

Hummingbird Robotics Kit: Students can make robotics, structures, and animatronics using kit parts and craft pieces. Coupled with software like MIT’s Scratch, students can be introduced to robotics and engineering!

Robot Turtles: This board game from Thinkfun for kids as young as 3 helps them use commands through card selection in order to win the game!

Cubetto:  This might be a worthwhile investment to be shared with your school. Each block represents a function and can teach children about programming languages.

Interested in learning what’s coming down the road? Google is currently developing Project Blocks to give children tangible experiences in learning about coding and programming. Sign up to help with the research and development!

You can also check out Code.org for lesson plans to teach kids to code.

 

How do you teach coding with your students? We’d love to hear!

 

 

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