LEESBURG — Students in kindergarten at Leesburg Elementary School have recently been learning coding.
The students use Bee-Bots, a computerized robot that looks like a bee, and an app called Scratch Jr. to learn the basics of coding. Coding with five and six-year-olds looks different. It isn’t a series of 0s and 1s. Instead, it is giving a computer program a set of instructions to achieve a specific goal.
With Bee-Bots, the students press arrows, a play button or a cancel button to tell the Bee-Bot where to go. The students select a start destination and an end destination. If their Bee-Bot is not successful, they have to make changes to their program until they accomplish their goal.
Kindergarteners also participate in a Scratch Jr. app where they are applying their knowledge of coding to create interactive stories by snapping together programming blocks to make characters move in specific ways. This is a free app that can be downloaded onto both iPads and Androids. Through coding, students learn how to be problem solvers, organize and plan their thoughts, visualize specific situations, foster their creativity and work together as a team.
Technology is a budding career field, specifically for computer programmers. An early introduction to coding produces a love for learning and exploration in this field. The students are always excited when their coding STEM days come each month. It is both an enjoyable teaching experience for teachers and a learning activity for students.