Weedsport Elementary students learn about computer literacy during “Hour of Code”

Elementary students work on computers on the gym floorThe entire student body of Weedsport Elementary gathered in the gymnasium in early December to learn all about coding during an Hour of Code event. The day started with a presentation by STEM teacher Lisa Mabbett and BOCES instructional technology coach Nina Baker, and followed with activities broken up by grade level.

The Hour of Code is part of a national movement that promotes computer literacy to young learners. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week.

For the event, students in first and sixth grade collaborated to work with a coding program called “Candy Quest,” and the kindergarten and fifth grade students followed suit. Students in other grades also worked on specific activities.

“The focus is to get kids coding world-wide,” Baker said. “There are so many careers that can use these skills and validate the knowledge students already have.”

All of the projects students participated in emphasized not only coding skills, but critical thinking and problem solving. Mabbett said since so much is robotic in the working world, students will need to be computer savvy when they enter the workforce.

“These activities will help teach the students perseverance too. Their first code might not work, so they will have to go back and see where they made a mistake,” she said. “To control their character (in the activity), they will have to problem solve.”

Sixth grade student Nora Dyer said she was excited about the activity.

“This is so much fun. You get to control a character,” she said.

The event also coincided with each student in grades 1-6 receiving a Chromebook (a laptop that uses the Google Chrome operating system). The district recently used money from the Smart Schools Bond Act to put Chromebooks in the hands of all students in grades 1-6.
Chromebooks utilizes the platform, Google Classroom, which allows teachers to create, distribute, and grade assignments.