Students from a computer programming class at the FWCS Career Academy went to four elementary schools and one middle school the week of Dec. 4 to do an Hour of Code with the younger students.
The students visited Levan Scott Academy, Waynedale, Fairfield and South Wayne elementary schools and Jefferson Middle School.
Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code," to show that anybody can learn the basics and to broaden participation in the field of computer science, according to the Frequently Asked Questions at www.code.org
The event has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.
The Hour of Code happens during Computer Science Education Week, which recognizes the Dec. 9, 1906 birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, according to Code.org.
Career Academy Instructor Alex McKinstry said the initial intention was to have his students work with all fifth graders in the District. That goal was whittled down to a more manageable number, focused on schools interested in doing the Hour of Code.
To prepare, McKinstry’s students reviewed 10 Hour of Code presentations and settled on three specific programs to use with the younger students.
Through the Hour of Code sessions, “we really hope that we can light a spark in students who might never have seen or done anything like this,” McKinstry said in an email. He was anticipating the presentations would reach between 500 and 800 students.
During the Hour of Code, students designed scenes in Minecraft, or developed a game or worked on how things might happen in a game.
Once home, the younger students could login to code.org and show their family and friends what they did during the Hour of Code.
The Monday after the Hour of Code presentations, McKinstry spoke to his students about their experiences with it.
“It went a lot better than I expected,” one student said.
The students said the classes were more prepared for the program than they had expected and that the younger students were engaged.
The Career Academy students tried to drive home a couple of points:
- Coding, or programming, can be done at home, it doesn’t have to be just a classroom activity; and
- The Career Academy at Anthis has some pretty cool programming for interested students.
Fairfield Principal Lindsay Amstutz-Martin had nothing but praise for the Hour of Code.
“Fairfield's Hour of Code was a success. We had such a great response from the kids and the teachers,” she said in an email. “I think having the Anthis students here guiding our students made it so much more powerful and made it less daunting to teachers. They already want to do more with coding in their classrooms. “