Coding Squad: Keeping Students Interested in Computer Science Beyond The Hour of Code

Code.org’s annual “Hour of Code” is upon us! Students in my school have been having so much fun learning how to code using Dash and Dot, BeeBots, Robot Mouse, Bloxels, Code.org, Scratch, and countless other resources while learning the fundamentals of coding. Students are engaged and excited!

How do we keep that enthusiasm alive?

In order to continue engaging students in computer science beyond The Hour of Code,  I decided to start our first optional Coding Squad. This opportunity is a flipped learning approach in which students will learn about different computer science at home!

Weekly Challenges

For eight weeks, I will post a different coding challenge using a hyperdrawing which is designed to allow students to explore, engage, create, self-assess, reflect, and share their work. I will also post a video screencast tutorial detailing how to complete and submit each challenge. I will then post the answer to the challenge (if applicable) the following week.

Here is an example of my first activity:

(Click the image to “Make a Copy”)

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 10.28.29 PM

Digital Badges

In order to encourage participation, students will earn digital badges upon completion of each activity. We will share our work to an authentic audience using social media and our classroom website. Students that complete all eight challenges will have their names posted in our newsletters and on our Coding Squad website. I will also create certificates of participation for all students.

The buzz about our Coding Squad is quickly spreading throughout the school. Parents seem excited to learn about coding alongside their child!

In Summary

The Hour of Code is such an amazing way to engage our students while promoting collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills. The question is, how do we continue engaging students beyond The Hour of Code. How do we continue to encourage students to learn about computer science?

I am excited to see how the Coding Squad progresses over the next eight weeks. How will you encourage your students to continue learning about computer science?

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