Computer hardware / critical thinking

Hour of Code

December 9-15, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one hour introduction to students on coding, programming, and why they should love it. It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator. They provide a variety of self-guided tutorials that the say “anybody can do, on a browser, tablet, or smartphone. We’ll even have unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience needed.”

Watch this “how to” video for more information.

Coding is a great tie-in to Common Core math Standards. Any time I can show students how to complete math skills without doing math, it’s a plus (because it surprises them. They don’t expect a discussion on problem solving or modeling to help them with math.

I try to do some sort of programming at every grade level:

  • K/1 – Program a Human Robot – Use simple pictures to give a human “robot” instructions – forward (footprint), right turn, pickup (backpack).  This I got from a fellow tech teacher and it works wonderfully!
  • 2nd grade – Tynker
  • 3rd grade – Blockly –
  • 4th grade–blogs–adding images, looking at the html code
  • 5th grade–Scratch
  • 6th grade—Code Avengers, Code Monster, and Khan Academy’s Computer Science tutorials
  • 7th/8th grade–Alice

These aren’t an hour, but a start. Here are some more options. The Pony Mixer is wonderful. Show it with a few of the videos and let the students lose. It can be done in an hour.

Programming sites:

  1. Activate!—create games
  2. Alice
  3. Blockly
  4. Code–learn to code, for students
  5. Code Monster
  6. Gamestar Mechanic–design video games
  7. Hakitzu
  8. Hopscotch–programming on the iPad
  9. I like programming video
  10. Khan Academy Computer Science
  11. Kodu—game programming
  12. Learn to code
  13. Lego Digital Designer
  14. Looking Glass—animated story
  15. Pony Mixer
  16. Python
  17. Scratch
  18. Snap!—runs in your browser
  19. Tynker
  20. Wolfram Alpha widgets

Other options:


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a columnist for, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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