In December, Kindergarten – Grade 4 students at Father Frederick McGinn Catholic Elementary School in Richmond Hill participated in the Hour of Code, a global movement that promotes computer science to students of all ages.
Elisabeth Lion, Teacher-Librarian organized the coding activities in the school’s library because she wanted to provide students with an opportunity to get excited about learning computer science. Lion was assisted by the school’s volunteer Tech-Team, a group of Grade 6-8 students who attended the event to help guide the younger students.
Kindergarten students used a simple binary code to create Advent word-necklaces. Older students worked on laptops and Chromebooks and coded from a series of puzzles including Code with Anna and Elsa, based on the Disney movie Frozen, and games Angry Bird, and Plant vs. Zombies.
Most of the students had little-to-no prior knowledge of computer science or what coding meant, but the game-like, self-directed activities were engaging and students managed to grasp the basic concepts quickly. Students were introduced to basic programming concepts such as repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms. After the Hour of Code wrapped up, students left with big smiles and unanimously agreed that ‘coding was fun!’
Coding and computer programming reinforce mathematics and conceptual skills such as sequencing, critical thinking and problem solving, which encourage perseverance and collaboration. Ms. Lion and the Tech-Team will run a lunchtime Coding Club for students in the school’s library where they can continue to learn more about the wonderful world of coding.