Last week, more than 30 classrooms from 28 different schools in the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) dedicated at least one hour of class time to coding activities. The Hour of Code, which ran from December 6 to -10 this year, in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week, is a global movement that introduces Kindergarten to Grade 12 students to STEM and computer programming concepts.
“It’s important for our students to become familiar with coding, computer science and other technologies, so that they are equipped with the digital skills they need to be successful,” says UCDSB Learning Partner, Bryan Kearney.
On Wednesday, December 8, Bryan led the 4/5/6 class at Kemptville Public School through the programming activity “Outbreak: Code your own Simulation.” Using block coding on a computer, students worked through a series of challenges based on a real-world example – disease spread.
“This outbreak simulator fosters problem-solving skills using an example that students can relate to,” says Bryan.
Students built the code based on a set of instructions, made predictions on what they thought might happen, and tested their code to see if it ran properly. The predictions included how long it might take for the disease to spread in different scenarios, how many people would contract the disease, and if different methods put in place would slow the spread.
“The great thing about the Hour of Code is that it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing,” says Bryan.
These self-guided activities are free, and can be accessed year-round on the Hour of Code website (https://hourofcode.com/ca/learn), without downloading any additional software. There are activities for all levels and devices.