Teaching Strategies

Getting the Most Out of Hour of Code

An hour of coding is a fun beginner’s experiment for teachers or parents to do with kids—these resources make it easy as well.

December 1, 2015 Updated November 9, 2017
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Chances are high that computer-science literacy will be increasingly relevant for jobs of the future. Some theorists even suggest that the ability to read and write code is a fundamental 21st-century competency. Yet according to an August 2015 Gallup survey, many students get little exposure to these concepts at school; opportunities are even more limited for low-income students.

To address these realities, there are a variety of free resources that can help teachers of all grades and subjects give students exposure to computer science, as well as access to opportunities that develop the skills required to approach coding problems.

Code.org hosts the event to engage students, teachers, parents, and others (ages 4 and up, and of any experience level) in experimenting with programming and game creation. From structured lessons to more creative, exploratory activities, a variety of experiences make coding accessible to all kinds of learners. Activities can be done on computers, phones, and tablets, in pairs or together as a whole group. If access to devices is an issue, try unplugged activities such as My Robotic Friends that don’t require them.

Hour of Code tutorials can be accessed at any time by anyone. If you are a parent and your child is not participating at school, you might consider doing an hour of code together as a family. Although some schools may choose to conduct school-wide events, it’s also feasible to participate as a single class. Teachers don’t need to know anything about coding in advance, though if introducing programming to your students fills your heart with dread, check out Terri Eichholz’s advice in “Code Dread.” (For elementary teachers, her simplified scope and sequence for grades K–5 is also worth reviewing.)

Resources to Help You Run an Hour of Code Event

Code.org Tutorial Highlights

Hour of Code Across Grade Levels and Content Areas

Coding activities aren't just a fit for math and computer science; they can also be a part of lessons and projects in English, social studies, science, art, and beyond. Students at the elementary level, even in kindergarten, can benefit from opportunities to practice computational thinking. Check out the following resources to explore sample activities:

After the Hour of Code

Explore the following resources for ideas on how to make opportunities to code and exercise computational-thinking skills an integral part of classroom activities throughout the year:

Parents can take advantage of these resources:

Short on time in December? Code.org’s tutorials are available throughout the year, and you can visit Edutopia’s Computer Science /Coding page for additional support and resources.

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  • Teaching Strategies
  • Technology Integration
  • Computer Science/Coding

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