“One of my students came up and said ‘algorithm’ and I almost fell over,” said Kerry Woods, a multiage K-1 teacher at Stewart’s Creek Elementary in The Colony.
Algorithms. Sequencing. Debug. These words are no longer reserved for high-schoolers or college students. Now, kindergartners and first graders at Stewart’s Creek are coding.
Ms. Woods teamed up with Dina Estes, another multiage K-1 teacher, and Liana Alvarez, LISD Elementary Instructional Technology Facilitator, to put together Coding Camp with the help of teacher grants from the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation (LEF).
LEF awarded Mrs. Estes the SHW Group (now Stantec) Grant for her project, “Bee-Bots for Learning!”, and Ms. Woods won the Morris & Jenny Seay Classroom Development Grant for “Little Learners Can Do Big Things”. The duo’s LEF grants combined for more than $2,500 to purchase Bee-Bots and the Osmo system to teach beginning coding skills.
The Bee-Bots and Osmo are part of a grand idea to present a Coding Camp for kindergarteners and first graders in which they’re introduced to coding gradually and in a number of different ways. Bee-Bots are robots designed for young children to use as a tool to learn sequencing, estimation, problem solving and more. Meanwhile, Osmo fosters learning in key areas such as creative problem solving and different STEM areas.
Ms. Woods and Mrs. Estes set up tents, helped students make visors, and put students in groups called troops so they could be ready for Coding Camp. Then it was time to learn.
To start, Woods and Estes taught their students “offline coding”. This was an opportunity for young students to begin to understand how coding works. They used multiple methods to drive the point home, including blindfolding students and having their team members, or fellow troopers, direct them to a landmark.
Once the students had a good grasp of what coding was and how to do it, then they advanced to the Bee-Bots, Osmo, and other online coding opportunities.
Through the Stewart’s Creek Coding Camp, kindergartners and first graders began to learn about jobs in the programming and coding field at an early age. Ms. Woods says that, for the first time, she is seeing some of her young students considering becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg.
“You’re going to have some kids that are going to be very famous programmers, and it’s because we started it all off with LEF,” said Ms. Woods.
— Ms.Woods’ Class (@WoodsMultiage) May 9, 2018