We all want our kids to become better programmers. The best way to help them learn to code is to actually help them learn how to debug their code. Debugging is a great way for kids to actually find how to solve their problems and work through their code. Experts will say when you find the problem and figure out a solution, it’s actually the best way to learn.
As a teacher, I know that kids learn in different ways. Some kids learn better by using their hands, some by listening, and others by watching videos. These days, kids are learning how to cook food, make slime, and make themselves better by watching videos. But did you know you can use videos to help teach kids computer science? Here are a few of my favorites.
For the last fourteen years, 4-H has created a fun, hands-on STEM challenge for youth in upper elementary or middle school. For the last five years, the challenges were released in both English and Spanish. The 2021 STEM Challenge, Galactic Quest, explores the history of humans in space, the technology and resources needed for missions, and the obstacles humans encounter in orbit.
My students had a terrific idea to make a chatbot program, but they couldn’t overcome a bug where their greeting phrase wouldn’t print first. It was their program, and I really didn’t want to debug their code for them, but I knew that if they could step back and see what they had told their program to do, as opposed to what they thought they were telling it to do, they’d be able to sort things out. What could they use to accomplish this?
Worldwide Day of Play is coming up on September 21, 2021. This annual event was launched by Nickelodeon in 2007 to encourage children and parents to turn off their television and play together! The channel suspended programming for three hours and a special message appeared on the screen. Sometimes we forget how important play is for children, and for adults. Play is important for our well-being, for reducing stress, and for keeping our minds sharp.
If you are teaching computer science, you probably already know how understanding computing benefits all young people. But for the one in five children who have learning or attention issues like ADHD or autism, opportunities to learn CS may be limited. This is even more challenging in out-of-school learning where instructors may not have experience or training in addressing the special needs of their learners.
Perseverance has landed! You can use this exciting mission to inspire great learning activities in your afterschool program. We also want to highlight another great resource on Mars that comes from 4-H, the Mars Base Camp Challenge. The challenge includes four activities that explore engineering, computer science, and astronomy. You can download the curriculum for free or order the kit which includes enough materials for 12 youth to participate in the STEM Challenge.
Computer science is more than a discipline. It’s a passport for young people from all walks of life to achieve a high-paying career where they can contribute their creative gifts to the world. Click2ComputerScience is committed to equipping out-of-school time (OST) educators with what they need to facilitate engaging, hands-on computer science learning experiences.