Hour of Code Stretches to a Full Week at Burke's

The second week of December, something extraordinary happened on the Burke's campus. A full week of Hour of Code activities (more than 50 in total) got students thinking about the elements of computer programming — but in many cases, without a screen in sight.
Check out the videos linked below to see a sample of what students did, both plugged and unplugged. 

We've also put together an extensive guide for you to keep the coding going at home. Click here to download it!
One of the big stars of Hour of Code was a game called Beebots. Available either as a physical Roomba-like Beebot that can be programmed with buttons on its back or as an iPad app, the game teaches the importance of sequencing and direction. Lower School students played it in both ways in Open Code sessions, during their classroom time in the Makery and after they finished assigned work in class. Here, Makery Facilitator Jenny Howland demonstrates the game to second graders in Makery Up.
Kindergartners had a variety of options for learning coding, several of which didn't involve computers at all. Here, a group of students along with K-Yellow Associate Teacher Caitlin Bicknell create a code for a dance by inventing their own symbols, placing them in a logical order, trouble-shooting what doesn't work and "running the program."
Open Code sessions in Makery Up were quite popular at recess, especially for a program called Makey Makey. Students had to connect alligator clips with connector wires in the correct order to turn everyday objects into a keyboard. Here, Burke's girls used Makey Makey and a piano program to turn themselves into a keyboard.These fourth graders quickly took to this game called Out of the Gridlock and even turned it into a competition with their classmates! It's a game of logic as well as cooperation in which the goal is to go from a random mix of plastic balls to a set where each participant has two balls of the same color. But there are rules: Only one ball can be in a hand at a time, and balls can only be passed to an immediate neighbor. It can be a tough puzzle to solve and requires thinking several moves ahead of time.
Code.org, the organization that put together the Hour of Code worldwide, created several online games that incorporated coding skills. One of them was based on the ever-popular movie "Frozen" and involved coding the correct patterns for snowflakes. Unsurprisingly, this was a very popular activity across grade levels; here, fifth graders tackle it in Makery Down. Try it for yourself on the code.org websiteThe Rami game, seen here in Pedro Mena's eighth-grade advisory session, uses a system of levers to direct tiny plastic balls to numbered shoots. The twist? Those levers at the side corresponded to a 0 or a 1 depending on its position. Students went through a series of prompts to direct the plastic balls to specific locations, then recorded the binary codes that those specific locations dictated.
Fourth and eighth graders came together in the Library to collaborate on a poetry project. But this assignment went from the page to the screen as teams of two or three girls chose a favorite poem and then animated it using a program called Scratch. Scratch treats code as a series of building blocks, making the process easier to visualize. Students in all grade levels used Scratch (and Scratch Jr.) throughout the week to create holiday cards and reprogram the classic video game Pong, among other activities.Makery Up also hosted Open Code sessions during recess where Upper Schoolers could experiment and try out a number of different brain puzzlers. Here, students play a game called Chocolate Fix in which they must deduce the correct arrangement of "chocolates" in a box using a set of cues on accompanying cards.
Many of the "plugged" activities incorporated "unplugged" problem-solving. Here, K-Blue Associate Teacher Kate Woodruff walks a student through the Beebot iPad app by creating a real-world scenario on the floor in Makery Up.Robot Turtle is a board game that takes coding offline. Above: Mike Matthews, Director of Curriculum and Program Innovation, teaches it to a group of students (and teachers!) in the Library.
It was thrilling to see the excitement in our students as they reasoned their way through the activities listed above and so much more — and came to realize that coding and programming are tangible and at their fingertips. Burke's will be examining what happened during our week of Hour of Code activities and evaluating whether we can integrate even more coding into the curriculum, so stay tuned for further information. 
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


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