The junior kindergarten through fifth grade classes at
Kennedy-Longfellow School (KLO) joined over 15 million students
worldwide in participating in the Hour of Code week. Sponsored by
Computer Science Education Week, the idea behind Hour of Code is to
demystify what it means to code by encouraging children and adults alike
to jump in and try their hand at computer programming. Coding can take
many forms. If you’re new to the concept, coding is simply teaching a
computer to do something using keyboard commands. It can be as basic as
writing a program that turns your computer on or off automatically and
as complicated, as well, the new government health care system website!
McKellar, Director for the Python Software Foundation and local
entrepreneur, kicked off the day by speaking to the 5th grade students
about the various career paths rooted in programming. Her speech
inspired the students to continue to explore coding no matter what their
career aspirations, as coding skills provide a strong foundation from
the medical field to video game development.
Junior kindergarten – 2nd grade students at KLO jumped into
everything from moving monsters through elaborate mazes using the
Kodable iPad app to programming BeeBot robots to move around a large
game mat, learning math and ELA concepts along the way. Other activities
included sequencing a jelly sandwich, drawing and exploring shapes with
the Kinderlogo software, and programming character actions with the
Daisy the Dinosaur iPad app.
Third through fifth grade students, meanwhile, dove into Java
programming through Minecraft, made Lego WeDo robots spin, rotate and
talk via Scratch, and sequenced LittleBits electronic circuit components
to create a “tickle machine.” Students eagerly took turns wearing a
Raspberry Pi helmet-mounted webcam, beaming live streaming video of the
event to all of the classrooms. Parent volunteers and the KLO math and
literacy coaches were an essential part of the two days, helping to run
different activities and providing guidance for students as needed.
The Hour of Code event coincided with the launch of the new KLO
“Makerspace” – a completely revised and revamped creative workspace that
supports student-centered, collaborative engagement with Science,
Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) projects. The open
concept, flexible space is equipped with iPads, Chromebooks, a video
green screen and sound booths, and allows for large and small group
WBZ-TV (CBS) News was on hand on December 13th to capture some of the
Hour of Code excitement as part of news anchor Paula Ebben’s “Eye on
Education” program. You can watch the segment by clicking here. You can also read about it in a segment reported by Erin Balassari from the Cambridge Chronicle, “Lesley, Kennedy-Longfellow partner to reimagine S.T.E.M. learning”.
The event served as just the beginning of integrating a host of coding
activities into the JK-5 KLO curricula. Stay tuned for future news from
all of the KLO coders!
Wondering where to begin? Check out these online resources:
Terrapin: Tools for Thinking