Computer Science Education Week is coming up on December 5th – 11th with the goal to introduce students to Computer Science and help students start developing technology skills that will benefit them in the future. As strong advocates for Computer Science, computational thinking, and coding, we are excited! When you give a child the opportunity to make something that is real and teach them the skills to do it on their own – the outcomes can be amazing. Here are 6 ideas to get your students excited about coding and making during Computer Science Education Week:
- Try an Hour of Code – Hour of Code was created by Code.org to introduce anyone to Computer Science through an hour-long coding activity. You can sort through the wide range of activities and you will definitely find something that will engage your students in grade 2 and above. I love the Star Wars Code a Galaxy activity and most students love the Minecraft activity for obvious reasons. Check it out and let us know what activity your students loved in the comments!
- Have Your Students Try a Coding App – There are a lot of innovative games and apps that will teach students of all ages to code. Any of the resources from this list curated by our Content Team lets your students create something using code blocks. Students can create games, apps, filters and much more!
- Create a Class Website Together – Creating a class webpage together will help give your class an idea into what goes into creating a website. You can use Wix, Square Space, or WordPress to easily create a class page with your students. I love WordPress because you can show students how adding some simple code can change the design of the site.
- Hold a Hackathon – Hold a full-day Hackathon with your students. Their are many organizations that will happily help you create the ultimate hackathon for your students. I particularly love Ladies Learning Code, Code.Org, and Hackergal for their great resources and impactful experience. You can also create your own Hackathon based around your class’s interests and needs. To get started, try using these questions to guide your planning:
- What will your class be creating?
- What is the theme or frame for the day?
- What platform will your students be using to create?
- How will you kick-off the day and create energy?
- How will you wrap up the day and celebrate each student’s successes?
- Will you present at the end? How will this work?
- Hold a Low-Tech Hackathon – It’s not easy to hold a hackathon or even create a webpage with your students. Whether you don’t have access to that many devices or you don’t have the time available, you can still hold a hackathon in your classroom! Make it low tech and focus on the design aspects involved in the technology industry. Your students can create an experience, an app, or even a game all without tech. Instead students can use low-resolution materials to build a prototype. I love utilizing the Design or Engineering Process when running a hackathon like this. For more information check out these helpful articles: STEM and Project Based learning – 6 Tips for Student Success and Running an Engineering Design Challenge – 6 Tips to Get Started. If you want to look more into how I create hackathons for students I suggest reading Design Works by Heather Fraser, Change by Design by Tim Brown, and The Design of Business by Roger Martin.
- Try STEM Village – STEM Village is an online education tool designed by educators and parents with the student in mind. STEM Village connects you directly to your students’ personal learning tracks allowing you to see where each student is struggling and where they are excelling. Your students earn points while exploring engaging and informative content. The STEM Village Content Team curated 1000s of innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math resources and mapped them directly to the Ontario Curriculum. The Technology section is a great place to direct your students to during Computer Science Education Week. Your students won’t just learn how to code, they will also learn the ins and outs of the technology around us and how they are designed and created with the user in mind. Follow 3 steps to get your class involved for free:
- Sign-up for the STEM Village app as a Teacher and connect your students to your account. You can simply do this here and our Support Team will help along the way!
- Set a reward for your entire class and kick-off the week-long challenge!
- Decide how many points your class will earn and what the reward will be!
If you want to get your kids or students engaged with STEM education in a fun and effective way, please visit STEM Village to learn more and start a free trial today.
This article was written by Erin Carmody, an experienced educator, consultant, and Content Manager at STEM Village. Erin has been an educator for 8 years in the U.S. (Chaparral Elementary and Woodland Hills Private School) and Canada where Erin acted as an educational consultant and program developer for ACTUA Canada and I-Think Initiative and Design Works at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Erin created and managed programs for many schools and organizations including Branksome Hall, Branksome Hall Asia, John Polanyi Collegiate Institute, University of Toronto Schools, The Leacock Foundation, TRFCA, Hackergal, STEM Village, and Ledbury Park Elementary.