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Hour of Code is becoming increasingly popular in schools across the country. With so many activities for Kindergarten through 12th grade, it’s no surprise that tech and regular ed teachers are finding ways to incorporate the Hour of Code activities into their school day! What is Hour of Code? When does Hour of Code happen? And what do you do during the Hour of Code? These are all questions teachers are googling daily, so here’s an Hour of Code overview to help answer all of your questions.
Hour of Code Overview
If you have been hearing of the hour of code for the last couple of years and want to figure out exactly what it is all about, this blog post is for you! You’ll learn all about the Hour of Code with this comprehensive overview. Plus, you’ll get a head start with some tips, tricks, and websites you can use to get your class started on their Hour of Code journey.
What is Hour of Code?
If you’re wondering what is the meaning of hour of code. You are not alone. The Hour of Code started in December 2013. It is a one hour introduction to computer science education, coding, programming, etc. By allowing students to learn the basics, they can begin to understand and get excited about the field of computer science.
Hour of Code has over 400 partners, and over 20,000 educators participate each year. Since its start in 2013, it has reached tens of millions of students in the United States and 180+ countries. Some countries included are Canada, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Poland, and India.
Who Started Hour of Code?
Code.org started Hour of Code. Code.org is a nonprofit that allows every student to learn about computer programming while in school. They focus on getting young women and students from other minority groups interested in computer skills and provide a K-12 computer science curriculum to many school districts in the United States.
What Day is Hour of Code?
One of the most important parts of the Hour of Code overview is when people celebrate! Hour of Code is available all year long. But, every year in December, millions of students worldwide celebrate Computer Science Education Week. The dates in 2022 are December 5th-December 11th.
What Age is Hour of Code for?
Hour of Code is great for students of all ages! There are different ways to run your Hour of Code. Whether you have students go through it self-guided or decide you want it to be teacher-led. You can participate just as a class, recruit your principal and join as a school, or even discuss the event with your superintendent and have the whole school district sign up.
Who Should Participate in Hour of Code?
Everyone! Every student within your district should participate in Hour of Code, and it allows them to learn computer science which is becoming increasingly more important in the 21st-century job market. But they will also gain skills in problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity. Here at Teach Your Kids Code we truly believe that it’s important for every child to learn the basics of coding.
Why Do We Celebrate Hour of Code?
The field of Computer Science was not a field many were looking into when Hour of Code started. It started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code.” Coding was seen as a very challenging skill that only highly trained people could do. However, anyone can learn the basics, and by learning code, people may become more interested in the field of computer science.
What are the Benefits of Hour of Code?
There are so many benefits when it comes to the Hour of Code. Besides learning the basics of coding, students will also learn other valuable skills.
Higher Level of Thinking
Coding promotes skills like reasoning, analyzing, decision-making, evaluating, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. These skills are not only helpful while coding, but they will also help them when applying for jobs and working with other employees.
Hour of Code may influence someone to enter the computer science field. Computer science is one of the highest-paying college degrees, and computer programming jobs are growing faster than the national norm of other job fields.
Real World Problems
As teachers, we are often asked, “How will I use this in real life?” Besides the higher level of thinking, coding is a skill that doesn’t lose its power. The codes may get harder and more complex, but the basics do not change. Students will develop troubleshooting and problem-solving skills. As they edit and revise their programs to work most effectively, they will use skills that will be common in many different professions.
Try and Learn New Skills
A new skill is always a great thing. Hour of Code is focused on the basics of coding and if they never use coding in their future career. It’s still important to allow students to learn a skill that may help them in the future.
Teachers can teach coding anywhere—the floor of their classroom, the library, or virtually. The Hour of Code is simple enough to allow students to learn a great 21st-century skill from anywhere.
Students Take Charge
The Hour of Code has many different resources that students can use inside and outside of school. Once you introduce students to coding, they can go in many directions. Children love to push the limits and try new things.
Learn more about the benefits of coding in this blog post!
Hour of Code Activities
Now that you have an Hour of Code overview. Let’s get into the fun stuff! There are many ways to bring the Hour of Code into your classroom, and Code.org has activities for teachers to get started. We’ve compiled a list of the best FREE hour of code activities right here on our site.
Unplugged Coding Activities
If your students aren’t quite ready to get into scratch and other computer based programming tools, start out with some unplugged coding activities. Here at Teach Your Kids Code we specialize in making fun unplugged coding actities for the classroom.
Check out some of our most popular unplugged coding activities:
- Learn to code with a deck of cards
- Learn to code with Hotwheels
- Learn to code with magnetic tiles
- Learn to code with egg cartons
Code.org gives students the opportunity to try coding in three different ways. Minecraft Designer, Minecraft Adventurer, and Hero’s Journey. Each activity has several challenges and allows students to learn block coding, and they will also learn loops, variables, and functions.
Studio.code.org has a great program where students can code with the characters from Angry Birds. Students use black-type codes to get the pig. There are 14 levels, 6 based around Angry Birds and 8 being Plants vs. Zombies.
If you have some dance lovers in your classroom, then code.org’s dance party is the perfect Hour of Code activity for you. Using block coding, students can make different characters dance and enjoy a fun dance party at the end.
Make the Google letters dance, tell a story, or create a game. Students will use a popular programming language designed for kids called Scratch. MIT created Scratch, and its block-based interface is easy for beginners to understand.
Not sure if these will interest your students? There are a TON of other Hour of Code activities. I’ve rounded up 13 fun and free coding activities.
Hour of Code Worksheets
If you are looking for a low prep option to help your kids learn basic coding concepts for the hour of code then consider our Hour of Code Worksheets. These worksheets are made for children from K-8 and will help your students understand basic coding concepts such as algorithms, loops, debugging, branching and variables.
3D Printing and Hour of Code
If you have a 3D printer at your school there are lots of ways to get kids coding AND using the 3D printer. We’ve designed a tutorial to teach kids how to create their own personalized snowflake using Codeblocks in TinkerCard.
Hour of Code: Tips and Tricks
Now that you have the Hour of Code overview and some fun coding activities. It’s time to learn some tips and tricks to make your Hour of Code enjoyable for all!
- Find tutorials and programs that fit your student’s interests, ages, and experience levels.
- Use teacher resources to help understand what each program is about.
- Consider doing some unplugged coding activities. These are a fun way to incorporate coding while keeping the screen time low.
- Start small. Start with one or two activities and grow your students interest in coding over time.
- Give students the opportunity to code after the Hour of Code is over. Once your studnets have had a taste of coding they’ll be excited to try new projects and even create their own games.
These tips and tricks will help make the Hour of Coding easier for you as a teacher and more enjoyable for students!
Hour of Code: Wrap Up!
So to wrap everything up and ensure you understand the Hour of Code overview. Here is the cliff note version of everything we discussed in this post!
- Hour of Code is during Computer Science Week every year.
- It was designed to get students interested in computer science.
- Any age can participate.
- It helps promote skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.
- Students learn high-paying skills, solve real-world problems, and take charge of their learning.
- Many Hour of Code activities focus on what students already enjoy, such as Angry Birds and Minecraft.
Kate is mom of two rambunctious boys and a self-proclaimed super nerd. With a background in neuroscience, she is passionate about sharing her love of all things STEM with her kids. She loves to find creative ways to teach kids computer science and geek out about coding and math. She has authored several books on coding for kids which can be found at Hachette UK.