It is wonderful to see students as young as 5 years old become completely engaged in creating simple step-by-step instructions using a program like Scratch Jr or witness an 11-year old solve a problem and move up a level after debugging a misstep within her instructions. But do these students know that this is computational thinking? Do they understand that with these programs they are decomposing, abstracting, searching for patterns, and creating algorithms?
Much like a person would use a recipe when baking a cake, a computer is programmed with a set of instructions to perform a task or multiple tasks. With coding unplugged (no technology devices within the lessons), students are beginning to see the logic and reasoning behind coding. They learn to use symbols to communicate and that these symbols must be clear and precise. Students also learn how to take a big problem and break it down into smaller problems to create basic computer programs.
With coding unplugged, students gain a deeper understanding of computer science while developing the skills of critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and perseverance.
If you are interested in coding for children, the primary school is currently using Code.org resources. However, please feel free to explore more resources below: