Computer code is the basic set of instructions or rules that a computer understands. As part of Computer Science Education Week which runs from December 9-13, 2019, students in Westfield Public Schools are taking part in the “Hour of Code,” a project introduced in 2013 by code.org, a non-profit organization seeking to increase student interest in programming and other computer science-related topics.
Fifth grade students at Franklin School partnered with first grade schoolmates for Hour of Code activities that included using block code to program characters with dance moves and creating music videos to popular songs.
“Hour of Code” is meant to introduce students to the basics of computer programming in a fun and interesting way,” says Franklin librarian/media specialist Rachel Kennedy who has organized Hour of Code events for the past 7 years.
At Jefferson School, librarian/media specialist Sally Susan Heyder teamed up with code.org volunteer and Westfield resident Charlie Schafer to guide 3rd graders through Hour of Code activities while, at Tamaques School, Marisa Truselo’s 5th grade class received a visit from Code Ninjas, a Westfield-based coding center for children. The class worked collaboratively to create a multiplayer soccer game with a goalie and a kicker.
“Students learned how to use Scratch, a visual programming language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” says Truselo. “They learned basic coding concepts like algorithms, loops, conditionals, and variables while learning the importance of computer science.”
Throughout the year, coding is woven into some lessons at the elementary and intermediate schools while, at Westfield High School, certain courses focus specifically on computer programming.