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Hour of Code- How to Participate in CS Ed Week

More than 186,000 learning centers around the country are participating in this year’s Hour of Code. But what if your child’s school isn’t hosting an event? Or what if you’re a grown up that wants to get in on the action yourself? No fear, it’s easy to get involved right from home, even if you don’t have a computer! Here are just a few resources to help you and your kids learn to code during Computer Science Education Week and beyond.

Online and App Experiences 

Code.org 

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Code.org is the brain behind the Hour of Code movement. Their Star Wars, Minecraft and Frozen tutorials are a big hit with kids as early as age 6. The Star Wars activity also boasts a JavaScript tutorial that’s geared towards ages 11 and up. With dozens of partner links on the site, there’s truly something suitable for everyone.

Scratch 

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Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. With Scratch, kids can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share their creations with others in the online community. Scratch is the program our original Div Jr. camps were built around.

Scratch Jr. 

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Scratch Jr. is everything we love about Scratch, redesigned to be developmentally appropriate for younger children (ages 5-7). The features match young children’s cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development. It’s available as a free app for both iPad and Android tablets.

HopScotch 

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HopScotch is another option that’s great for tablet users. It lets you program your own games and publish them instantly for anyone to play. Best suited for kids ages 10 and up.

Tynker

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Tynker offers self-paced online courses for children to learn coding at home, as well as an engaging programming curriculum for schools. Activities range from the Kindergarten to 8th grade level.

Codeacademy

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Codeacademy has three quick and easy 30 minute activities where students can animate their name, make a website or build their own galaxy. Older kids and adults can go on to make use of Codecademy’s entire interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 9 different programming languages.

codeSpark

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codeSpark’s gamelike software, The Foos, teaches basic computer programming skills — “the ABCs of coding”— with no reading necessary. It’s aimed at children as young as 5.

Kodable

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You can complete your Hour of Code with Kodable via any device, or even unplugged! This award winning game and accompanying curriculum is designed to teach the basics of computer coding to kids 5 and up.

CodeMonkey

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CodeMonkey is an engaging online game that teaches real computer programming to children as young as 9. Beginners typically learn with text and block-based code. For a more challenging activity, students can use CodeMonkey to jump into txt-based programming.

iTunes Store

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You can find many of these and more on the iTunes Store’s special Hour of Code section. They’ve highlighted apps, books and iTunes U courses to help users get started with computer science or deepen existing knowledge.

Unplugged Activities

No computer? No problem! That doesn’t mean you can’t teach your kids computer science. Unplugged activities are great for letting younger students dive right in or for those who don’t have access to technology. Unplugged activities use things like cards, crayons, string and movement to let everyone experience the kinds of questions and challenges that computer scientists experience, but without having to learn programming first.

CS Unplugged– This would be my first stop. There are dozens of cool unplugged activities here.

Thinkersmith’s My Robotic Friends Activity

Thinkersmith’s Binary Baubles Activity

Code.org’s Conditionals With Cards Activity

Kodable’s Fuzz Family Frenzy Activity

Project Gut’s Rock, Paper, Scissors Activity 

In Person Experiences

Microsoft and Apple stores across the country are hosting workshops and other special events in conjunction with the Hour of Code movement. If you’re local, Penn Square’s Apple location is hosting their event on Thursday, December 10th at 7:30 PM and Microsoft has events lined up this Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13. Make sure to register online before you go.

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