Today, I helped facilitate a session of An Hour of Code at a local elementary school in Ascension Parish. Czarina Walker, founder and CEO of InfinitEDGE Software, asked me to help facilitate this session for all the fifth grade classes at Spanish Lake Primary School in Geismar, LA.
I was to help a class of 35 students through the self-guided coding exercises cleverly disguised as Angry Birds mazes. The goal of each challenge is to move the Angry Bird character to the end goal. The students have to figure how to manipulate the character in the least amount of code blocks. It was a lot of fun. The kids helped each other out and I assisted them while helping them to come up with the solution on their own. I think they had a lot of fun. I did notice a boy actually reaching over and doing the coding for the girl next to him. I had to nicely tell him to let her do it. After working with her for a bit, she figured it out on her own. I noticed that in the class, I got more questions from the girls than from the boys. All the girls were able to finish in the hour but a few of the boys didn’t finish. I think some of them were reluctant to ask for help. I would be interested to see how this exercise played out in a classroom where the genders are separated.
For the kids who finished early, I had them start the Anna & Elsa game. It was quite challenging. But both the boys and girls were into it. The more tech savvy kids had fun while the rest of the class got more familiar with the game and the building blocks of writing computer code. I encouraged the teacher to make it a regular lesson. There is more the teachers can do from the teacher dashboard.