Whether you are a newbie or a pro at teaching coding, the benefits of teaching coding in the elementary classroom are too great to ignore! Whether you have access to technology or not, coding is something you can absolutely introduce in your classroom. And, teaching coding to students as young as Kindergarten is super easy and fun! Believe it or not, you may already be teaching coding concepts in your classroom without even knowing it! So, let’s dive into the benefits of teaching coding.
What is Coding?
Coding is essentially creating a set of instructions to complete a task. In the tech world, it’s a set of directions we give to computers to let them know what we want them to do. As teachers, we can explain coding to our students in a way that doesn’t even involve the use of computers. By breaking up simple tasks into a set of instructions, your students are actually coding!
Teaching Coding Helps Students Build Problem Solving Skills
At school, students are presented with so many tasks to complete during the day, that they take the process of completing them for granted.
That’s why I like to use coding unplugged activities. They are a great way to introduce the concept of breaking down a task into small steps. This helps build problem-solving skills because students must use backward planning to break up the task.
One of my favorite winter unplugged coding activities is the Code a Snowman Activity. I like to tell my students to pretend they are explaining the process of building a snowman to someone who has only lived in the desert. It’s a great way for them to think about each of the individual steps needed to build a snowman.
With fun challenges like Code a PB&J Sandwich, Code a Sandcastle, or Code a Snowman, you can introduce your students to the basics of coding in engaging ways they will love. Using worksheets, students will learn that algorithms are everywhere in real life, even in the building of a snowman.
You can check out even more great coding activities that don’t require the use of computers in my 3 Unplugged Coding Ideas Your Students Will Love post.
Teaching Coding Encourages Creativity
We may think of coding as something to do more with math than creativity. But, it actually takes a lot of creativity to put together a set of instructions to accomplish a task. So, when I can encourage my students to think creatively while learning about coding, I know I have a well-rounded unit on my hands.
Some of my favorite activities to help build creativity while teaching coding are online games. Using a computer or tablet, students can learn important coding skills with these games. With coding becoming such a popular activity for even young kiddos, these games help them learn to think creatively to solve problems.
Check out my video below to see some of these fun games in action!
Teaching Coding Helps Students Learn How to Work Collaboratively
More often than not, when we think of someone coding, we imagine them working completely independently. That doesn’t have to be the case though. Coding can absolutely be a way for your kiddos to learn how to work with others to solve a problem.
When I want to give my students the opportunity to work collaboratively, I pull out my Robot Mouse. This is an adorable little robot that’s perfect for teaching coding and collaboration.
Working in small groups or with a partner, students use coding mats to “program” Robot Mouse to follow a specific set of instructions.
With the use of arrows and colors, kiddos work together to get the mouse through a set of obstacles.
You can even ask your students to design and build their own mazes for Robot Mouse to maneuver through.
Coding is for Everyone
No matter how you choose to introduce or use coding in your classroom, your students will be better prepared for the digital world ahead of them.
Teaching coding in the elementary classroom is a fun way to help your students gain important skills like problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration just to name a few.
I know you and your students will love coding as much as my students and I do! Be sure to check out the Miss Tech Queen TPT store for all kinds of fun and engaging coding activities you can start using today!
Save these coding activities to your favorite teacher Pinterest board so you can start using these coding activities with your students today!