At the Elementary School in Ras Beirut, we have been finding ways to integrate the idea of coding more and more into our teaching and learning. Starting a couple of years ago with the Hour of Code, these initiatives would later grow to include simple programming and robotics with drones and Spheros. This year a Coding Study Group is trying to bring the idea of coding and computational thinking to all teachers in a friendly, understandable way that gets them excited to move forward with these new ideas.
At a faculty meeting last month, teachers started thinking about the concept of algorithms and sequencing - notions that are quintessential not only to computer science, but also to other parts of life. Teachers shared about knitting, dancing, and other endeavors where direct connections could be made to concepts in computational thinking. Then, various ‘plugged’ and ‘unplugged’ engagements were planned in order to reinforce this understanding. During these engagements, teachers programmed drones to fly and practiced using simple coding languages on the iPad. They also moved tangrams around and stacked cups according to strict parameters meant to mimic the parameters a programmer faces in her efforts to get her program the way she wants it to.