Colonial’s elementary programmers learn to code
Beginning in kindergarten, all Colonial School District elementary students develop programming skills during their weekly Technology Specialist rotation. Students recently completed a unit about coding that had the children glued to their laptops and tablets. Coding teaches basic computer science skills and “also gives them a strong foundation in computational thinking skills that transfer to many other subjects,” said Plymouth Elementary technology teacher Christine Ehrlich. Students use a programming language called Blockly that helps the children create code visually by linking different blocks together to make something happen. The blocks include commands such as turn left, turn right, move forward, repeat and add sound, and can be nested to create loops and if/then conditions. “I like coding because you get to move and connect the blocks, and if you get it right, you get to go to the next level,” said third-grader Alexa. With the next unit being Robotics, students will continue to code as they transfer the skills they’ve developed to program items on a screen to programming educational robots like the Dot and Dash, the Ozobot and the Bee-bot.