Trinity Elementary School was excited to host an after-school coding program for grades 2-5. Coding Club started on May 10 and meets every Tuesday for six weeks.
Coding, or computer programming, helps students develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. It also inspires students to be creative, and develop perseverance and confidence.
“Our lessons are based on the New York State Computer Science Standards,” said Terri Agravat, who teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and facilitates the Club with fellow teacher and Trinity Math Coach Johanna Vasquez. “We focus on identifying a problem and breaking it down into smaller steps, recognizing that there are multiple ways to solve a problem following an algorithm (set of steps) to complete a task, and identifying and debugging errors in an algorithm. Students do not even realize how much they are learning because they are having so much fun!”
Students use a variety of coding devices and explore kid-friendly computer-programming activities. The sessions are taught by teachers Denise Larkin, Rachel Collins, Adrienne Quinn, and Yessenia Sanchez. A grade-by-grade look:
Second Grade: Before working with mouse robots, students practiced deciphering coded messages and learning directional vocabulary. Students then practiced coding by creating mazes and coding their mouse robot to get to the cheese.
Third Grade: Students explored how to code with Ozobots, a robot that codes with markers. After practicing how to code special movements and speeds, students created a scaled map of their route from home to school and coded a path for their Ozobot to follow that route.
Fourth Grade: After an introduction to computational thinking, students began using block- and text-based coding on BrainPop, an engagement tool, to make conversations between two sprites or icons.
Fifth Grade: Students work with Makey Makey kits, which are circuit boards that plug into a computer and function like a keyboard. Students, for instance, were able to use the keyboard as a piano. These kits can be connected to other conductive materials such as foil and even their bodies to create closed circuits.
Remaining activities include programming a Bee-Bot to reach coordinates on a student-created map, and using Scratch, an online coding program, with Makey Makey kits. This program also benefited the teachers who explored coding devices and planned grade-appropriate activities. “It was great to see the progression of coding activities from one grade to another,” Vasquez said.