Teaching Kids to Code – #hourofcode

“Hurry up – we only have a few more minutes!”

The teacher just announced there were only three minutes left in the Hour of Code. It wasn’t a race or a contest, rather an hour for kids to learn about computers and how to program them.

But Josh and Stephan were serious – they wanted to finish the Moana maze they were working on before class ended, so they could make the coconuts dance at the end.

An Hour Of Code Could Be Just the Start

This past week was Hour of Code week, and the goal is to reach millions of kids and give them a one-hour introduction to computer science – to demystify “code” to show that anyone can learn the basic of how computers work. Thought leading teachers invited volunteers into their classrooms to help them put on sessions for the kids.

As I was helping the two boys with their program, they suddenly saw the shortcut – they didn’t have to spell out every single command. “Ooooohh – I get it!” They were able to make Moana find her path with some logic and a repeat loop, instead of spelling 30+ individual moves for her. It was awesome to see them figure this out with just a little nudge here and there.

The “Aha!” moment for the two boys…

The brute-force way of doing it – block by block

The elegant way – with logic and a repeat loop

I really enjoyed working with these kids. They were SO enthusiastic about this, and learned very quickly. You could see the gears turning as they solved these problems, this was like recess or playtime for them. And they were learning how to program computers.

Many of them came up to me afterward and thanked me personally for coming. It was a real treat to spend this time with these amazing kids. What a privilege.

What a great class … and maybe some future programmers.

For more about the Hour of Code or Code.org, check out this short video below.



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