It's December and you know what that means? COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION WEEK! I have to admit this is one of my favorite weeks to be a STEM teacher. I love to geek out on tech during the year, but this week gives me the opportunity to try some new and exciting activities I know my students will love. Here are some easy ways to get your students pumped about technology, coding, and problem-solving.
Computer Science Education Week (csedweek.org) takes place every December all around the world! You may have also heard of Hour of Code (code.org), which is a huge initiative to promote programming with our youth. I have been participating in this with my students since 2013!!!! Computer Science Education Week isn't just for STEM teachers either! Anyone in the world can participate! Here's the ins and outs of how you can participate in this Computer Science Education Week in your classroom.
How to Prepare for Computer Science Education Week
We all know how important it is to plan ahead when trying out new activities in the classroom. Computer Science Education Week is no exception. Whether you are a STEM teacher like me, a classroom teacher, or anything in between some quick and easy prep will help your Computer Science Education Week activities run smoothly.
Simple Ways to Prepare for Computer Science Education Week
First, take inventory of the supplies you have on hand. This should include any electronic devices your students will be using. If you share an electronics cart with others, be sure to put your name on the calendar to make sure your students will have access to those devices on the days you need them.
Next, decide how much time you want to spend on Computer Science Education Week activities. You might want to take an hour every day to dedicate to Computer Science Education Week. Or, maybe you want to set aside some time on a Friday afternoon. It's completely up to you.
Then it's time to get your supplies ready. Make sure you have everything printed and charged before you start your Computer Science Education Week activities with your students. Nothing causes sheer chaos in a classroom like a teacher running around trying to come up with a secondary activity on the spot.
Finally, plan some back-up activities. Just like you want to be sure all of your technology is charged, you want to have a secondary activity all lined up in case the worst happens. This should be something easy your students can complete either independently or in a small group. That way, while they are working on that activity, you can trouble shoot the technology issue.
The Finishing Touches
I also like to award my students certificates of completion of our Computer Science Education Week. It's a great way to celebrate their hard work and success and also gives them something to take home. So getting those prepped in advance makes the end of the week a little easier.
My kiddos love showing these off to their family members as they share all of the fun activities they have done throughout the week.
And . . . remember that these activities should be fun for you too! Make sure you plan activities that you are going to be able to participate in and problem-solve if needed. Never used Ozobots before but want to plan out a cool activity for your students? Get some of your teacher friends together and take some time to “play” with and get to know how to use those Ozobots before your students try them out.
Set the Stage
One of my favorite ways get students excited about Computer Science Education Week and coding is to set the stage. When they arrive on Monday our classroom door or bulletin board has been transformed into this coding themed design. Since this week is always in December this “Baby, It's Code Outside” display is the perfect way to set the stage!
The students love it and it is a great way to start the discussion. Without fail someone will ask about the door and that gives me the opportunity to talk about Computer Science Education Week. We talk about the goals of the week and why this week was created. We talk about the use of coding in the world around us. And . . . we talk about coding as the future!
You can also use this door or bulletin board as an interactive display. To do this, I will put up the background and words, but leave off the snowflakes. Each of the snowflakes has a different website or app on it that students can use to learn more about coding. I use the snowflakes to introduce these sites and apps and then I let a student add it to the door or bulletin board. They love having a part in creating the display.
Over the years I've put together a variety door and bulletin board sets that are perfect for technology teachers, STEM classrooms or the Makerspace. Here's a couple that are perfect for Computer Science Education Week.
Computer Science Education Week Activities
Okay, now it's time to get down to business. Here are some of my favorite tried and true activities I know you and your students will love!
Lay the Foundation
If your students haven't done a lot of coding, then it is worth it to spend some time at the beginning of the week learning vocabulary. As they start digging into coding activities, coding websites and apps, they will be exposed to these words. Having an understanding of what these words mean when it comes to coding is really important.
In addition to talking about the vocabulary, I like to keep vocabulary posters up in the classroom for students to reference. That way, if they see or hear a word they are not familiar with they can refer to the posters to help them. Each of these posters includes the word, definition and a picture to help students understand the meaning.
Coding With Robots
I love how many robotic options are available for my students these days. And, the best part is there are robots for every age and skill level. Every student from Pre-K up can use robots to learn how to code.
Some of my favorite kid-friendly robots include:
With a few simple worksheets, mazes, or cards, your students will be well on their way to learning how to code and program these amazing kid-friendly robots. Check out this video to see how these awesome robots can be used in your classroom.
Unplugged Coding Ideas
What do you do if you just don't have access to technology for your students to participate in Computer Science Education Week?
Don't fret! There are lots of unplugged coding activities for your students to do that don't require technology at all.
Because the basic idea of coding education is to teach your students how to create and follow a set of instructions to complete a task, your students will develop a sense of ownership.
Your unplugged coding ideas can be as simple or complex as you like.
For some really amazing unplugged coding ideas, be sure to check out my Miss Tech Queen TPT store. I have so many ready-to-print screen-free resources already prepared and ready for you! Here are some of my favorites!
Computer Science Education Week Activities For Everyone
No matter how you choose to have your students participate in Computer Science Education Week it's sure to be fun for everyone involved. To help you prepare and find tons of resources to make your week a success, I have put together a FREE resource just for you! The Guide To Computer Science Education Week is perfect for this year's Computer Science Education Week or any time you need some tips and suggestions for adding coding and computer science into your classroom. Inside you will find my favorite FREE apps, websites, coding books & activities. Grab your FREE Guide here.
Save these Computer Science Education Week Ideas
Be sure to save these awesome ideas and activities to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you can come back anytime for more fun and engaging activities your students will love!