Classes Inspire Digital Natives
to ‘Scratch’ the Surface of Coding
Coding for kids teaches students to think logically and creatively while building computer and mathematical skills.
Sept. 25, 2014 (TAMPA, Fla.) – With heads bent over laptops, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS students worked in pairs to move and modify blocks of commands to animate a cartoon cat on their computer screens.
Technology teacher Matt Melnick kicked off coding for kids, lessons for third through fifth graders on Scratch, a programming language where elementary-aged students can create interactive media, such as stories, animations and games. The activities provide the fun of video games as they help students gain understanding of mathematical concepts and computational concepts, including iteration and conditionals.
They tested sequences, adjusted orders and embellished upon tasks once they had mastered them, gasping with delight when the cat reacted as they had hoped. In future lessons, they will build upon these basics to integrate reading and writing while they create storylines and animate characters from books they read or history they studied. The challenges rapidly increase in difficulty with each step they complete.
“You can create games, and it helps you with technology,” said Evan Alexander, a fifth grader.
As digital natives, students become technologically fluent at an early age. While the older children tried out Scratch, PreK4 and Kindergarten sat down with iPads during their class periods to learn about coding on the app Kodable. Kodable and other coding for kids apps provide the building blocks for children to learn programming language when they are older.
At Corbett Prep, students learn to work on multiple platforms — tablets, laptops and desktops and Macs and PCs — so they remain adaptable in an ever-changing world. While some of these students will pursue computer science careers, all benefit from a background in computer programming. Coding for kids helps students develop problem-solving techniques and reasoning skills and encourages them to think both logically and creatively.