How to Teach Coding
On a previous post, I mentioned the value of teaching our students how to code and how we can combine coding with the endless possibilities offered by the LEGO bricks. In this post, I would like to tell how I have been putting this into practice with my two sons.
I wanted to teach my kids how to code, so I started looking for a curriculum I could follow to avoid paying for sometimes expensive coding classes. Since I have multiple iPads at home, I decided to use the curriculum created by Apple as part of their initiative called Everyone Can Code.
Apple offers a whole curriculum with teacher guides designed to help you bring coding into any grade level. The lessons focus on fundamental coding concepts while demonstrating how coding is merely a way of thinking that can be applied to other learning areas and everyday life.
For my kids, the perfect starting point was with the lessons offered in iBook Get Started with Code 1 which has been designed to help you introduce coding to students ages five to seven . The best part of all this is that even if you have no experience with coding, these guides are easy to understand and follow. You’ll be using two visual-based apps, CodeSpark Academy and Tynker to introduce the fundamental concepts of coding, and more importantly, to help you teach your students to think like coders. The guide includes recommended activities, downloadable presentations, reflection questions, journal prompts, and more to help you explain coding concepts and apply them in everyday contexts. There are about 20 hours of core coding lessons with an additional 10 hours of supplemental app design activities and many of the core lessons run from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
With my kids, I am doing a one-hour session on Saturdays and Sundays. I use the hands-on activities and material provided in the iBook to introduce the fundamental concepts, and then we move to practice with the apps. My wife works with our four-year-old on CodeSpark Academy, and I work with the seven-year-old on Tynker.
Additionally, to what we are doing with these two apps, I am combining the ideas and concepts learned during the coding lesson with an additional one-hour robotics session using LEGO Boost. Last week we practiced concepts such as “Loops” using Boost and the new Ninjago dragon that can be combined with the computer, sensors, and motor included with Boost to bring the dragon to life.
I hope you get inspired to teach your kids coding if you are not doing it already. If you need some inspiration on why to do it, I recommend watching the following video.
Coding as the New Literacy – Mitchel Resnick