I did the “Hour of Code” like many other teachers and students a couple of weeks ago. The website also provides resources to go beyond the first hour. There is an “Introduction to Computer Science Course K-8” that is about 20 hours (20 lessons or stages). I thought that over the Christmas holidays that I would try to get through it, since I have a bit of time. If you and your school are looking for a scope and sequence for teaching computer sciences, this looks like a great resource! Besides teacher lesson plans, there are accompanying worksheets, videos for students to watch, and browser-based computer games for students to apply their understanding. For teachers in the United States, there is prize-money to be won if you establish the program in your school.
Today, I started the “20 hours”. Stage 1 (Lesson 1) was called Introduction to Computer Sciences and the introduction was essentially learning about the concept of Binary Code.
Binary Code is what I know as using “zeros” and “ones” to program. I am familiar with it looking like the image at the top of the page.
Code.org took the ASCII Code: Character to Binary and instead of using 0,1 turned it into paper strips with squares. A filled square (white) means “1”. An empty square (black) means “0”.
You can see that on the Binary Decoder Key (available as part of the resources provided by Code.org. Click the “lesson plan” button), the letter “V” looks like this:
In binary, it would be 0101 0110 (black is 0. White is 1 Thanks to Omnia for explaining this to me. 🙂 )
The above worksheets are provided to create binary codes on.
I gave it to my boys to create a binary of whatever they wanted for their brother to solve. It was no surprise to me the words they chose to code!
The 20 hours is gamified so students will be able to track their progress through winning trophies. This is my progress so far.
I accomplished Stage 1 and Stage 2 today. Stage 1 was the binary work. Stage 2 (The Maze) was the repeat of the Angry Bird Game exercises I did in the Hour of Code. I did 2 out of the 20 hours today. It took me a lot less time, being an adult and the repeat of the Angry Birds. My next lesson (Stage 3) will be about Computational Thinking.
Here is the entire scope and sequence of the 20 Hours/Stages/Lessons:
- Introduction to Computer Science
- Maze (Hour of Code Activity)
- Computational Thinking
- Graph Paper Programming
- Artist 1
- Artist 2
- Farmer 1
- Artist 3
- Farmer 2
- Artist 4
- Relay Programming
- Farmer 3
- The Internet
- Artist 5
The exercises in Italics are off-line lessons that involve teacher and paper. The ones in bold are the online games.
It’s been a good start and rather fun! I am not that geeky so the thought of computer programming doesn’t thrill me; however, in this day and age, there isn’t going to be any sector that won’t need computer programmers. I reminded my boys of that. I love music and they definitely need computer programmers in music. Whatever our students love, there will be need of people in that industry who can combine their passions with computer programming.
I am thankful to Code.org for providing these resources freely around the globe. The USA is hoping to jump-start computer programming in their country by providing these resources and prize money. There may not be prize-money for you if you’re not in the USA (and definitely not for me in Switzerland!) but the kids will be the real winners.