This week the Beezwax crew found a fun way to give back to Oakland by participating in the Computer Science Education Week (CSEdW), Hour of Code. The Hour of Code exposes children to the basics of computer science, including sequential instructions, loops and conditional statements.
The tutorials are self-guided with themes including Minecraft, Star Wars and Frozen. They use Blockly, a visual block-based language, allowing kids to snap blocks of code together to create programs they can compile and run.
We reached out to the Oakland Unified School District and were quickly matched up with PLACE @ Prescott Elementary School in West Oakland. We had 5 volunteer teams paired with 5 different classrooms ranging from 1st to 4th grade. For many kids this was their first exposure to computer science.
In some cases the children were having so much fun coding they opted out of their recess time to finish the tutorials! They were eager to ask questions and worked collaboratively to solve each of the coding puzzles. Some of the kids worked on the tutorials in more than one language translating the instructions from Spanish to English for the Beezwax bee helping them. One of the most rewarding moments was hearing the “ahhhh, ok!” that indicated the student had just mastered a new code skill! It was interesting to see the different approaches taken to each puzzle.
The children that participated got a certificate of completion, stickers and a t-shirt. We challenged the children to share a tutorial with someone and many were excited for the opportunity to stump a parent!
Learn more at HourOfCode.com where you can sign-up to volunteer next year or check out the free tutorials for your own Hour of Code.