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Students Play & Persevere With Hour of Code Activities

Hour of Code iPads 201

Elementary school students use Blockly to code.

L-S students participated along with others all around the globe in Hour of Code activities during Computer Science Education Week, which took place from December 3-9, 2018. The Hour of Code challenge began in 2013 as a way to introduce computer science to students through short, age-appropriate tutorials and games. Since then, more than 100 million students have participated in over 500 million hours of programming activities through Code.org.

While coding activities in the District aren’t limited to Computer Science Education Week, it’s a great time to introduce and/or stress these important lifelong skills.

Bray Coding 2018 HoC

Dr. William Bray, Lampeter Elementary School principal, works with first graders to navigate Code & Go mice.

With varying degrees of support, students in kindergarten through second grade start with screen-free activities meant to build their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Using coding cards, groups help Code & Go robot mice navigate their way through a maze to find the cheese. Lampeter elementary students also use iPads to experiment with Kodable, an app that introduces children to the concepts needed for basic computer programming.

Older elementary students program Dash and Dot robots and use Blockly, an app that transforms code into visual blocks that can be easily dragged and dropped, to write simple programs. Every class at Hans Herr receives coding lessons during library instruction and many teachers provide additional activities in their classrooms. Students are encouraged to visit Code.org at home to complete programming activities for fun.

Hour of Code 201

Third graders code their own Angry Birds games in the Hans Herr library

Elementary librarian Amanda Spealman said feedback was very positive after Hour of Code activities.

“The kids were focused on tasks and were engaged the entire time,” Mrs. Spealman said. “When they hit a hurdle they would bounce ideas off one another but continued to work hard. I definitely see coding as an excellent connection to the importance of reading and following directions, taking time to practice sequencing things correctly, and demonstrating perseverance when the code doesn’t work correctly the first time.”

Mrs. Spealman said she sees coding as a net positive for students, whether or not they plan to go into STEM fields.

“When we reflected on what we learned and enjoyed, students commented that they were challenged to do harder work,” she said. “A few kids have even checked in to tell me that they have completed challenges and earned Hour of Code certificates.”

Sphero Risser HoC 201

A Sphero robot and block-based code form the basis of a book report in Mrs. Risser’s 7th grade ELA class.

Middle and high school students continue hone their programming skills throughout the school year; sometimes in unexpected ways. Several English/Language Arts teachers have begun to integrate Sphero robots (again using block-based programming) into book reports and presentations. Interested high school students have the opportunity to take Computer Science Essentials and AP Computer Science in collaboration with Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization that offers “comprehensive pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.” The high school also offers a STEM Club and Programming Club for students who want to sharpen their skills outside the classroom.

The district is committed to providing students with learning opportunities that include coding and 21st century learning skills.

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Lampeter-Strasburg School District
1600 Book Rd., Lancaster PA 17602

Phone: 717-464-3311

Fax
Administration Building: 717-464-4699
Lampeter Elementary School: 717-358-1880
Hans Herr Elementary School: 717-509-0300
Martin Meylin Middle School: 717-509-0289
Lampeter-Strasburg High School: 717-509-0485

Email: info@l-spioneers.org

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