How to Start Using Coding Activities in the Classroom

Okay, so you've been hearing about all of these cool coding activities teachers are talking about lately. Maybe you've been on the fence because you just don't know how to get started. Miss Tech Queen to the rescue! I am here to get you excited and ready to start using coding activities in your classroom ASAP! These activities are perfect for everyone even if you have zero coding experience! With these simple and fun activities, you will be on your way to coding fun in the classroom in no time.

What is Coding?

The word “coding” is short for computer programming, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. In education, when we talk about coding we are focusing more on creating a set of instructions that have to be completed to complete a task. Did you know that not all coding activities require technology? It's true! You can teach your youngest students about coding with simple-to-use worksheets, or cut-out cards that can be manipulated to create a set of instructions for a friend to follow.

Coding in the classroom can be as simple or complex as you like. Because coding can include everything from apps, to robots, to technology-free activities, your students can practice learning how to code no matter their grade level.

Learn Together

Having a growth mindset is important for every student, but… it's also important for teachers. What better opportunity to show your students that you are still learning?

Don't feel like you need to jump into coding activities blind! Try out the activities with some of your teacher friends, your family, or even plan out a coding day for your class.

Kids absolutely LOVE having the opportunity to teach an adult something. When you use the “teach me” lense, students are going to feel empowered and more engaged in the new activities. Therefore, If you have older students, you can even have them partner up with a buddy class in a lower grade. This creates a perfect opportunity for them to be teachers.

Coding Activities Using Kid-Friendly Robots

I know it sounds crazy, but even our youngest students can learn the basic concept of coding. Students as young as 4 or 5 can and should be exposed to technology in meaningful and educational ways. Whether you are interested in using coding activities every day, or as part of an ongoing dedicated time for technology during the week, there are so many ways to use coding activities in the classroom.

Perfect for Younger Students

One of my favorite adorable robots for this younger age group is the Codeapillar. It is seriously the cutest! Students are able to choose interchangeable pieces to connect together. Because the pieces are easy for young hands to grasp, this is the perfect way to get your young kiddos excited about coding. These pieces are used to program the robot telling it which direction to move.

Another great little robot to use in your primary grades is the Robot Mouse. This cute little mouse helps students understand how to create a pattern or set of instructions as “code”. It's easy for kids to learn how to use because it uses arrows & colors. And . . . it includes items to help build obstacles or mazes for the Robot Mouse to maneuver through. Therefore, this is a great starter robot for younger grades!

Using coding mats, students are able to program the Robot Mouse to follow a specific set of instructions. While you can easily create a coding mat, I get that you might not have time. If you are looking for a time saving option, then check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store. There you can find a variety of coding mats for different seasons, holidays, and topics!

Challenge Your Older Students

If you are looking for coding activities for upper elementary students, the Sphero robots are perfect. They don't have any buttons but instead use block coding to program the robots. This gives them a little more versatility and more options for programming. You do need a device to code the Sphero. I love using a path with obstacles for the Sphero to navigate using block coding as a challenge for students.

Coding with Osmo

This tablet accessory uses a mirror and an app as an interactive way to get your older students learning about coding. Working through levels just like a video game, your students will need to use block coding to complete levels. Using tiles, students can give their character directions to help them move through the environments on the app.

I love using fun robots and technology with my students to help them learn about coding in my STEM classroom. With so many fun and engaging coding activities to do with these awesome robots, you are sure to find exactly what you need to start using coding activities in your classroom! Be sure to check out all of the amazing coding with robots activities in my TPT store!

Coding Unplugged

If you are looking for a super simple way to introduce coding to your students try some Coding Unplugged activities. These activities don't even require technology! Students will learn the basics of coding through these book and worksheet activities. It's a fun and easy way to start coding!

Coding stations don't have to include technology. Kids can learn to code with clever challenges!

These easy-to-use worksheets will help teach your students some of the important vocabulary they will be exposed to. They will also have to use their critical thinking skills to solve problems, navigate through an activity, and create algorithms.

These Coding Unplugged activities are the perfect way for you to start using coding in your classroom. You can easily teach coding even if you have no experience.

Because my kids absolutely love the fun and sometimes silly activities they can't wait to do more. You can choose to create small groups or even use these worksheets as part of a coding center.

Even More Resources to Get You Started!

To help students prepare for the future, organizations like Computer Science Education Week and Code.org have created a nationwide initiative called “The Hour of Code”. These organizations are dedicated to introducing millions of students to computer programming and computer science. For even more information including lots of free apps, unplugged activities, coding websites, coding books, and even more fun activities, I have created a FREE Guide to Computer Science Week resource available for download in my store!

Get Excited to Start Coding in Your Classroom

I can tell you from years of experience, coding activities are definitely a crowd pleaser for any grade level. I love sharing my ideas and experiences with you! Check out this YouTube video to see the robots in action. Plus, I'll share a few more tips and tricks to get you started with coding in your classroom.

Pin it!

Be sure to pin this page to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you can come back again and again for more easy-to-use coding activities for your classroom! Happy coding!

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