Did you know that computer-related occupations are among the fastest growing employment opportunities in the United States?
Technology has transformed the world around us. With all of the apps, programs, gadgets, and gizmos in our lives, learning computer coding has become essential. Which is why, here at Montour, every student in grades k-2 has had the opportunity to learn basic computer coding and explore the world of computer science.
What exactly is Computer Science? Computer Science is the science of using computers to solve problems. Mostly, this involves designing software. Beginning with the Hour of Code this past December, our young students have practiced computer science by exploring the world of computer coding.
Early on their learning careers, our students have used computer and tablet based coding programs such as Scratch Jr., Puzzlets, and Code.org.
Students at Forest Grove were introduced to computer programing this year using the new and innovative device, Puzzlets. The Puzzlets device utilizes a game-board that connects wirelessly to a computer tablet. This allows students to physically arrange puzzle pieces on the board to direct characters on the screen. This experience combines hands-on play with interactive gaming. Research has shown that engaging your body as well as your mind in an activity helps with attention and recall. By simultaneously using their hands and their minds, our children are immersed in learning!
Additionally, our Second graders at Forest Grove Elementary are participating in Project Lead the
Way. This STEM course begins with computer-free, unplugged activities and progresses to tablet-based challenges using the iPad app, Scratch Jr. Using coding, students are currently working together in groups to design and develop a video game. Creating a working video game is an empowering experience for our youngsters!
Finally, all students in grades K-2 are using Code.org. This elementary coding curriculum provides a click and drag format that even allows kindergarten aged students to participate in coding. Forest Grove students are using code.org to explore writing and manipulating code for some of the today’s most popular apps. The students are gaining an understanding of how programs such as Angry Birds and Minecraft, actually work.
But learning coding isn’t just about understanding the programming that drives our favorite games. Coding improves the problem-solving and thinking skills of children of all ages. More importantly, with the constant need for debugging lines of code, it teaches persistence. These skills provide an early foundation for success in any 21st-century career path!
By Jim Lach, Forest Grove Elementary