Students at Fritsch Elementary are learning about computer safety by improving their coding skills.
As a part of a global initiative, Hour of Code, Carson City teachers were encouraged to spend at least an hour this week teaching students the basics of computer coding. Jana Raab’s third-grade class spent an hour Wednesday learning code from a website called code.org. The website allows students to learn the basics of coding using Star Wars, Minecraft and Frozen characters, where the students learn how to make the characters move and do different things by creating the code.
“This is important for them to learn about problem solving and critical thinking and those are the 21st century skills that we are talking about with science and math,” said LeAnn Morris, lead technological integration specialist for Carson City School District. “It is learning about them in a different way to bring to their learning, and now with the one to one program at the schools we can really have that opportunity in regular classrooms.”
Raab also agreed the problem solving and creativity the coding games provide is important for students to expand their learning and thinking.
“This is a great way to promote computer programing and future jobs and it shows how to problem solve because programmers are constantly trying and retrying different codes until they get what they want,” Raab said.
Raab said her students were really excited to try coding once they found out about it. She said at first they were confused, but once she explained coding was used in everything from video game to cell phone application development, they were interested to try it out.
“They are so excited to do this hour of code,” Raab said. “It is great because you look around the classroom and they are all engaged in the program. People think that technology is just about playing games, but it is a lot more about creativity and problem solving and incorporating that into math and science.”
Many of the students also learned the lesson of working together and sharing ideas. Several students would work together and give each other tips and advice for what codes to use to advance through the levels.
Third-graders Neva Mellow, 9, and Emma Chacon, 8, worked together to try to make their Minecraft characters walk to a spot on the screen, break a rock and collect a token to advance the level.
“It is fun to get to help each other when she needs help,” Chacon said. “We are excited to learn it’s fun to do the Minecraft game.”
“Then we get to help to get it correct,” added Mellow.
There were 10 schools in Carson City who registered for the Hour of Code this week.