I set myself the goal of teaching my daughters how to code before they become teenagers – before they start thinking everything mommy does is uncool. But, I had no idea where to start or how to get them interested in coding. Given my interest in anything to do with teaching coding to kids, it was surprising that I first heard about Hour of Code from the class newsletter. What did second grade have to do with coding?
I quickly sent an email to the teacher asking to volunteer. She was happy to have me there. I was really happy to be there. It started with a small presentation that the teacher went over, and then we all got into it. The kids skipped over all the instructions, and just started playing with the code and the puzzles. They would try something – if it didn’t work, they’d try something else. That was the best part – they had no fear. To prevent them from getting frustrated, the kids raised their hands if they got stuck, and I and other volunteers would go over and guide them.
I really liked several things about the Hour of Code problems –
- It helped the kids understand how to break down a problem into constituent pieces.
- The puzzles were not just about coding. They were also about learning to problem-solve.
The second graders had great concentration. They were trying to beat each other in how fast they got the problems done. Many wanted to keep learning at home after the class. One little boy came by asking me how to try it at home. I wrote the website address for him on a piece of paper, and he went off clutching that little piece of paper like his future depended on it. Perhaps it does.