Hour of Code Programming

Though planning an event can be challenging, the idea behind of Hour of Code is simple. Get a group of interested people (in this case, teens in the library) and learn something about code or computer science together for about an hour. Hour of Code programming is held during CS Education Week December 7-13, but there’s no set time that you need to host a program during the week, and it doesn’t actually need to be a full hour (which is good for me, because our lunch period gives us about 30 minutes at most!). 

The good news is, if this sounds exciting to you and you haven’t planned a program yet, it’s not too late! Below are some last-minute program planning suggestions and resources that you can adapt to best meet your needs and resources. It’s kind of like a choose your own Hour of Code adventure!

If you have access to at least one computer for every two teens

Code.org offers six Hour of Code tutorials for a variety of age ranges, interests, and ability levels, including a Minecraft  and a Star Wars tutorial.

If you don’t have many devices, but most teens do have access to a smartphone or tablet

Touch Develop  allows students to code and play the levels of a robot game from their Android or iOS device or in a web browser. Teacher’s notes are also provided to help with the flow of the program.

If you need “unplugged” activities

Even without computers, mobile devices, or other hardware, students can learn a lot about the underlying principles of computer science. CS Unplugged offers many activities for computer science without the computers, including lessons in binary numbers, algorithms, and cryptography.

If you don’t have much time

Use Try Ruby. Provided by Code School, the short, step-by-step tutorial was clear and easy to ready and took me about 20 minutes, but each level takes 2-3 minutes, so it would be easy to shorten by having students complete just part of the activity. Teens could also create their own accounts and continue later on if they are interested. 

If you have access to hardware

Consider the Arduino Blink Challenge if you have access to Arduinos. Though it’s a simple activity challenging students to make an LED blink on for five seconds and off for two seconds, it’s a great way to show the relationship between hardware and software.

This is only the beginning of the activities you can do for Hour of Code. There are many more great resources online.  If you plan to host a program, don’t forget to sign up at Hour of Code to register as an official Hour of Code site. 

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