Jody’s Technology Page

Hour of Code Resources

What is the Hour of Code? It is a one-hour introduction to programming designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Students can follow step-by-step tutorials to learn a little about what it takes to make the computers that are all around us in our daily lives function.

When is the Hour of Code? The official week for the Hour of Code is December 7th-13th, but anytime in December is fine. Teachers can choose any hour that is convenient. Consider slipping it in between Christmas activities!

Do I need to know how to code? No! The tutorials have clear step-by-step instructions. You might enjoy sitting with a device alongside your students and following the tutorial with them, but no previous teacher experience is necessary

Where are the Tutorials? The tutorials can be found at https://code.org/learn. You will find a wide variety of tutorials and teacher materials as well. You can even find “offline coding” activities which cover similar concepts with paper and pencil.

Suggested tutorials

The following recommendations are based on my own experience trying them out. Please feel free to make whatever choice you feel will be best for your students. Click on the tutorial name to go to the start page.

  • Lightbot will run in your browser on a laptop Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.22.19 AMor as an app on the iPad (Lightbot Code Hour). This tutorial is a puzzle-solving game to give a robot instructions to light a series of tiles. It uses symbols to give directions, so students will not need to type. Only a little reading is required for the instructions. It is suitable for students in all elementary grades and may be fun for beginners to coding in High School as well
  • Code with Anna and Elsa runs well in Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.21.40 AMyour browser on an iPad or laptop. Students will learn to give directions to a skating character who will carve snowflake designs in the ice. This tutorial uses a system called Blockly  which allows students to drag pieces of code instead of typing. It includes video instructions. Once the tutorial is complete, students can create their own designs with what they have learned. This is best for cycle 2 elementary and up and includes plenty of possibilities once students start exploring  what they can create with what they have learned
  • Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.22.59 AMruns well in your browser on an iPad or laptop. Students will program droids and other creatures from the Star Wars universe to create a game that they will be able to play. This tutorial is available in a Blockly (draggable pieces of code) and JavaScript (learn the language and type your own code) versions. This is best for cycle 2 elementary and up, but the video instructions may make it accessible to interested cycle 1 students. Being able to play a game that you create yourself, complete with Star Wars sound effects was very motivating.
  • CodeMonkey will only run on laptops. Students help a monkey collect his scattered banaScreen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.21.03 AMnas by giving instructions. They will measure distance and use angles to give directions. This game may be best for grade 4 and up.
  • Grok Learning offers several tutorials that run well in the browser of the iPad or laptop. These tutorials are best for secondary students.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.22.04 AM
    • In “Frosty Fractals”, students will learn to create snowflakes. This is available using Blockly (dragable pieces of code) or Python (a programming language to learn and type your own code). The Anna and Elsa snowflake tutorial (see above) is a better choice for students wishing to make designs using Blockly. The Python tutorial is a good place to start for students wishing to move into typing their own code.
    • In “Is Eliza Human?”, students will program a chatbot robot to carry on a conversation. This tutorial uses the Python programming language and teaches students to type their own code. This is a good choice for students wishing to learn a “real” programming language.
  • Learn to Code with Karel the Dog will only run on Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.20.22 AMlaptops. Students learn to program in JavaScript to give instructions to move a dog around a grid. This tutorial was relatively quick and, while students type their own code, the choices are limited , making it quite simple. This is a good choice for secondary groups with limited time.