Students learn coding during Hour of Code event

North Fork Middle School and Ashby Lee Elementary School students learned the basics of computer coding during the Hour of Code event.

Kathryn Staton, technology teacher at Ashby Lee Elementary School, said that she has been participating in the event since it began three years ago.

“The students enjoy it and get so much out of learning to code that I extended it for the entire month,” she said.

Each year https://code.org chooses a theme for the event and this year it’s Star Wars.

“Each class in grades K-5 will be shown a video that introduces a brief behind the scenes look at Star Wars and gets them started on their first puzzle. I then walk them through the first two puzzles and then let them go on their own,” she said.

“I also tell them that when they reach level seven they are officially creating with code their very first video game. This usually gets a very positive reaction. Everyone is excited to get started,” she added.

Her students are coding with Blockly, which is a visual form of Java, she said.

Todd Lynn, North Fork Middle School principal, said computer science is a growing field where the demand is increasing, especially in Virginia.

“One of the items that we are regulated to do is to create an academic and career plan which maps at grade eight through 14 (associate degree) with an end goal in mind. This is another way that we can get students exposed to a possible career,” he said.

“I think it is important for everyone to participate in the Hour of Code because it teaches so many life skills that children will need to be successful in the future. It teaches them problem-solving skills, communication, collaboration. It gives them an opportunity to think outside of the box and to be creative on a digital platform.”

According to the event’s website, “https://hourofcode.com/us” target=”_blank”>https://hourofcode.com/us, the Hour of Code “is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.”

The goal of this grassroots campaign event is for students to try an hour of coding during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 7-13, though schools can choose to participate at another time.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com