TeachersFirst's Computational Thinking

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Computational thinking is expressing solutions so that humans and computers can understand them. A great way to visualize how to embed it in your classroom is to have the students think like the physicist, economist, artist, mathematician, etc. to identify the problems that need to be explored. This is not programming computers but logical ways for problem solving. It is a problem solving tool for every classroom that has students think like a problem solver and use higher level cognitive skills.

 

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C-Stem Studio - UC Davis C-Stem Center

Grades
K to 12
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C-Stem Studio is a software download integrated with learning opportunities for STEM subjects. Videos and interactives provide instruction in math, coding, and robotics. Choose from...more
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C-Stem Studio is a software download integrated with learning opportunities for STEM subjects. Videos and interactives provide instruction in math, coding, and robotics. Choose from the different pages to view information about each program. For those who prefer not to download software; try RoboBlockly. Roboblockly is an online tool for learning to code using drag and drop blocks to move robots. There is a link for RoboBlockly on this site.

In the Classroom

Download C-Stem Studio as part of your ongoing STEM and coding instruction. Be sure to follow directions on downloading the correct version and order of downloads. Share activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector, then have students create and explore on their own. After school clubs and activities can use this program to learn to code. Use this tool with gifted students for a great challenge. Set up a coding activity center for interested students when they finish class work or for rainy days and snow days. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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The Code Player - thecodeplayer.com

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6 to 12
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Learn to code through videos demonstrating actual typing of code to create items from scratch. Scroll through the page to choose a demo featuring HTML5, CSS, Javascript and more. Click...more
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Learn to code through videos demonstrating actual typing of code to create items from scratch. Scroll through the page to choose a demo featuring HTML5, CSS, Javascript and more. Click the demo image, then Play, Walkthrough, or View code. Project ideas include creating an interactive to-do list, text bubbles, or hover over information over images, and much more. After selecting a video, go to the upper left corner and click to play the walkthrough or view the code. Playing the walkthrough takes viewers through typing the code from beginning to end. There is no audio/sound.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

The Code Player is an excellent tool for anyone who prefers to watch demonstrations to learn instead of reading or listening to directions. Depending on the coding abilities of your students, choose one of the demos to display on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector and learn together. Have groups of students choose a different coding format to complete an activity. Use this site as a model for you or your students to create your own screencasts sharing how-to projects with coding. Use a tool like Screencastify, reviewed here. Screencastify works with the Chrome browser to record your screen and capture audio recordings. Have more advanced students create their own coding projects for classroom use.

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Edabit - Matt MacPherson

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6 to 12
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Learn to code with Edabit and their progressively difficult interactive challenges. Start by using your email to register. Begin with challenges that match your coding skills, then...more
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Learn to code with Edabit and their progressively difficult interactive challenges. Start by using your email to register. Begin with challenges that match your coding skills, then continue learning as you progress through more challenging activities. Each Edabit Challenge includes a problem, practice with code, help resources, and a discussion area. As users complete coding challenges, they earn experience points and unlock new skills through real-world situations.

In the Classroom

Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. Activities are self-paced, so differentiation is easy. However, it is still a good idea, if possible, to seat a more experienced computer user with one who is less experienced. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki.

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codeCampus - Raj Sidhu

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K to 6
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Learn to code in just a few hours with codeCampus's standards-aligned curriculum. Try your first hour of training for free and receive 20 hours of lesson plans. codeCampus provides...more
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Learn to code in just a few hours with codeCampus's standards-aligned curriculum. Try your first hour of training for free and receive 20 hours of lesson plans. codeCampus provides free school accounts with signups from administrators or technology specialists with additional hours of training and lesson plans.

In the Classroom

Make your staff the envy of all other schools with your coding prowess! Sign up for a school account and learn about coding together. Once finished, take advantage of the free lesson plans for teaching coding to your students.

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Minecraft Education Edition - Microsoft and Mojang AB

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2 to 12
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Promote creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration through game play with Minecraft Education Edition. This version of the popular game includes features for classroom use including...more
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Promote creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration through game play with Minecraft Education Edition. This version of the popular game includes features for classroom use including documentation of work and a secure environment for class play. In addition to the software download, this site includes a small base of lesson plans, classroom community support forums, and a My Classroom feature. My Classroom allows teachers to create a private world for students to join enabling them to work together in the same world.

In the Classroom

Make use of the features provided in the education edition of Minecraft to allow learning through gameplay. Ask students to use the camera and portfolio features to document decision making and progress through games. Use features within the game to learn about history, for example, have students import 3-dimensional structures such as the Roman Colosseum to explore and create experiences from that time. Instruct students to create a story for creative writing projects. Encourage students to retell a story through a Minecraft experience. Use Minecraft features to teach math lessons on shape, volume, area, and more. Discover more ideas at Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials, reviewed here.

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Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials - code.org

Grades
2 to 12
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Use code to make your own Minecraft game or learn the basics of computer coding by moving characters through a Minecraft world with these Hour of Code activities. These two ...more
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Use code to make your own Minecraft game or learn the basics of computer coding by moving characters through a Minecraft world with these Hour of Code activities. These two activities teach and reinforce coding skills through the familiar Minecraft game. After watching a video introduction, users follow instructions to place code to move characters within the game.

In the Classroom

Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. Be sure to look at all the implementation advice before introducing these extensive coding resources to your class. It would be wise to complete the Hour of Code yourself, so you will feel comfortable helping students if they get stuck. Better yet, invite a few students to do an hour with you after school and learn together! You will have a team of "techsperts" to help their peers. Plan an hour of Code on nationally designated days or on your own calendar! Invite the PTA/PTO to host a coding event. Select a video from this site to use to introduce Computer Science to your students. If you only have a few computers, introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Encourage students to help each other when they have difficulty. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too.

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Shikaku Madness - Ganbaru Games

Grades
4 to 12
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Shikaku Madness is a logic-based puzzle where you attempt to cover a grid with rectangles. Use the numeric clues on the grid to solve the puzzle. Tap and drag on ...more
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Shikaku Madness is a logic-based puzzle where you attempt to cover a grid with rectangles. Use the numeric clues on the grid to solve the puzzle. Tap and drag on the grid to create rectangles that don't overlap and contain the number of squares in the clue. Choose from four levels of difficulty when attempting puzzles.

In the Classroom

Shikaku Madness is an excellent addition to classroom bookmarks for practicing multiplication, working with arrays, developing problem-solving skills, and using logic. Encourage students to work up to the next level and become an expert in Shikaku. Share a link to the site on your class website for students to access at home. Encourage Shikaku "experts" in your class to share their methods for completing each puzzle with other students. Challenge students to create a video demonstrating their process in puzzle solving using a tool such as Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, or Screencastify (Chrome app), reviewed here. Then share it using a tool like SchoolTube, reviewed here.

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CodeChef for Schools - Directi

Grades
8 to 12
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CodeChef for Schools offers computer programming training and competitions. After registering as a New User, choose the Get Started button to begin as a newbie and explore frequently...more
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CodeChef for Schools offers computer programming training and competitions. After registering as a New User, choose the Get Started button to begin as a newbie and explore frequently asked questions. Choose the practice area to hone skills from beginner level through challenge level. Compete in monthly competitions with other coders from around the globe. Middle and high school students will appreciate the lunchtime contests, an introduction to competitive coding, targeted for their age group. These take place the last Saturday of each month, and specific times are posted on the site. The demonstration videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

In the Classroom

Coding is an excellent way to teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Use this site as homework, a center, or in a lab setting. The site offers different levels, so differentiation is built in. Explain to students that coding is a critical skill in today's world filled with technology and will also be a valuable skill in the job market. Many jobs that will require coding do not yet exist. Put a link to this tool on your class website, blog, or wiki. Encourage advanced students to enter the monthly competitions offered on CodeChef.

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Cardboard2Code - CBIS Education

Grades
4 to 12
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Cardboard2Code offers three free modules to learn computer programming tasks. Module topics include creating a cardboard robot arm, a virtual robot arm using Scratch, reviewed...more
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Cardboard2Code offers three free modules to learn computer programming tasks. Module topics include creating a cardboard robot arm, a virtual robot arm using Scratch, reviewed here, and using Python to control a robot arm. Enter your name and email to access each module. This site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is a short introductory video that resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

In the Classroom

Cardboard2Code would be perfect for use as an independent or group learning station. Share these modules with students interested in learning to code. Include a link on your class website to the modules for students to complete at home. Locate a volunteer with coding skills to work with your class to complete modules.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google CS First - Google

Grades
5 to 9
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Google CS First is a program for clubs to increase access and teach computer science to 4th-8th-grade students. All training and materials are free for anyone hosting a club in ...more
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Google CS First is a program for clubs to increase access and teach computer science to 4th-8th-grade students. All training and materials are free for anyone hosting a club in the U.S. Materials offer lessons based on themes such as storytelling, sports, social media, friends, and fashion and design. In addition to lesson materials, Google CS provides online training information for club leaders.

In the Classroom

Create a club in your classroom as part of your STEM activities, as a lunch/recess club, or an at-home activity for students. Use the flyers and presentation materials provided to create interest in the club. Differentiate clubs by student interests and abilities. Share Google CS First with your school's media or tech leader as an excellent resource for teaching coding. This site is perfect for those who want to learn more about coding, but have some hesitancy since all materials from creating a group through the lessons are free. If you still have some doubts, enlist the services of a tech-savvy high school student to help with activities as part of their volunteering requirements.

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Pencil Code Gym - David Bau

Grades
K to 12
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Code your own art, music, and interactive fiction with Pencil Code Gym. The main language is Coffescript, but you can press the gear button to use HTML, Javascript, and CSS. ...more
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Code your own art, music, and interactive fiction with Pencil Code Gym. The main language is Coffescript, but you can press the gear button to use HTML, Javascript, and CSS. Follow instructions to code using drag and drop blocks or text. Click the pencil in the upper left corner to see several resources including Materials for Teachers, Teachers Manual, Printable Activities, and several others. Toggle back and forth between the two formats to view the different formats. The wide range of activities make this site perfect for use with students of all levels of coding abilities. When complete, share finished projects on "GymStage", the sharing portion of Pencil Code Gym.

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for use as centers. Use the text options for students to use with digital storytelling. This site is perfect for differentiating different levels of coding skills. Allow students to explore at their own pace, then share their creations with classmates. Challenge students or groups to create videos explaining their creations using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Be sure to add a link to your class website for students to practice at home.
 

Comments

Great resource for all ages, more appropriate for middle school and above. Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Sketch Nation Create - Nitzan Wilnai

Grades
2 to 12
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Develop and design games and learn programming skills at the same time using Sketch Nation Create. This tool works on the web, iOS, and Android. To get started click the ...more
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Develop and design games and learn programming skills at the same time using Sketch Nation Create. This tool works on the web, iOS, and Android. To get started click the app of choice and then click settings and register. Once registered (no email required) select Create, the Genre, and your choice of Simple, Advanced, or Expert Modes. Choose to draw or import pictures to use for the background, characters, objects, and scenery. Make simple games while learning a little about programming and game design. Click the Getting Started tab to register. Look at the many examples and ideas under Education.

In the Classroom

If you only have a few computers, introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Allow students to explore and learn on their own at classroom computer centers or individual laptops. Sketch Nation is an engaging interactive to learn basic coding skills even for younger students. Encourage learning by telling them to ask three other students first before asking the teacher AND that it is okay if we learn it together. Once students get the hang of beginning programming tips, encourage them to make apps, games, or digital stories for other courses such as videos explaining photosynthesis, book readings from authors, famous battles from history, or different genres of music and art. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they plan to do/draw/say with their creation, and to keep tabs on students and their progress. For creating digital storyboards see Amazon Storybuilder, reviewed here, or Storyboard Generator, reviewed here. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Sketch Nation Create teaches the basics. Those students who show a keen interest in coding could learn more by using a program such as Anybody Can Learn to Code, reviewed here, Kodable, reviewed here, or Codeacademy, reviewed here.

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E.A.K. (Erase All Kittens) - Drum Roll

Grades
1 to 6
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Erase All Kittens is an online activity that teaches HTML coding. As you play, learn how to build ledges, add boxes, and more as your friend Arka endeavors to save ...more
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Erase All Kittens is an online activity that teaches HTML coding. As you play, learn how to build ledges, add boxes, and more as your friend Arka endeavors to save the missing kittens. Short demos and tips throughout the activity guide players on how to add and edit code. Erase All Kittens works best in Firefox and Chrome browsers. This review is for the free DEMO only.

In the Classroom

Introduce Erase All Kittens on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore and learn on their own at classroom computer centers or individual laptops. Provide a link to Erase All Kittens for students to access at home. Create a bulletin board for students to post achievement levels. Have student "coding experts" create video tutorials using Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.

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CS Unplugged - CS Education Research Group

Grades
4 to 12
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Find hands-on learning of computer science concepts (often without technology) with this collection of free learning activities including interactives and puzzles. All materials are...more
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Find hands-on learning of computer science concepts (often without technology) with this collection of free learning activities including interactives and puzzles. All materials are through Creative Commons licenses for easy copying, sharing, and personal adaptation. Download all activities for free in a book download or explore individual activities by topic, and then download in PDF format available in several languages. Other options include videos to view individually or by topic on activity pages. Topics covered include Binary numbers, Images Representation, Text Compression, Information Theory, Searching and Sorting Algorithms, Routing and Deadlocks, and Cryptography, among others. Also, check out the section for teachers under the Community tab. This section includes many additional resources and learning programs. The videos are in English, French, Swedish, Korean, and Chinese. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Online-Convert, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

In the Classroom

Make technology understandable and available to everyone, without the need to use technology. Use CS Unplugged as one of your STEM stations/centers during science lessons. Use CS Unplugged as an excellent resource for students who want to learn about computer science on their own. CS Unplugged is a great tool to share with students considering a major in computer science in college or wondering about computer careers. If you teach computer science courses, CS Unplugged could be useful for locating review materials to share with your students.
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Gridlock Buster - ITS Institute, University of Minnesota

Grades
K to 12
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Become a member of Traffic Team Alpha. Join the mission to get cars through intersections as quickly as possible by controlling traffic lights. As you complete each mission, move up...more
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Become a member of Traffic Team Alpha. Join the mission to get cars through intersections as quickly as possible by controlling traffic lights. As you complete each mission, move up to more congested intersections and improve your problem-solving skills. Read and follow the directions for priorities with each level.

In the Classroom

Share Gridlock Buster on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and create a link on classroom computers. Challenge students to increase their score on each mission. Have students discuss their strategies for improving scores. Be sure to share a link on your class website for students to play at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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BotLogic - Dolphin Micro team

Grades
K to 12
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BotLogic is an online activity that teaches programming and code. Enter by choosing educator, parent, or player. Educators and parents enter an email address and receive a code for...more
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BotLogic is an online activity that teaches programming and code. Enter by choosing educator, parent, or player. Educators and parents enter an email address and receive a code for players. Choose the player link to begin playing without a code. Select your age to begin at the proper level. Each level offers a tutorial with directions for play. BotLogic shows the window of code as you create your line of icon instructions. As an extra challenge, try to use as few instructions as possible to earn rewards.

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to play BotLogic on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Let students explore and play on their own using classroom computer or other web-enabled devices. Use BotLogic to teach logic, problem-solving, systems thinking, and, in some cases, collaboration. BotLogic is perfect for differentiation, allow students to move through levels at their pace. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Teachers of even very young gifted students can turn them loose with these challenges when they have already mastered math or science curriculum.
 

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Get Caught Engineering - Wendy Goldfein and Cheryl Nelson

Grades
3 to 8
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Get Caught Engineering is an excellent resource for elementary and middle school STEM lessons and experiences. Follow the link to the blog to find many ongoing ideas for incorporating...more
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Get Caught Engineering is an excellent resource for elementary and middle school STEM lessons and experiences. Follow the link to the blog to find many ongoing ideas for incorporating engineering into classrooms, as well as an archive of past articles. Sign up with email to get all blog updates. Choose from several lessons ready to print and use. Many lessons offer quick activities using a minimum of materials, ideal for effortlessly incorporating engineering and STEM activities into any classroom!
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities to introduce STEM activities into your classroom. Use lesson plans as ideas for starting an Engineering Night program at your school. Have students create an annotated image of projects including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos explaining each step of their process using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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CodeCombat - CodeCombat

Grades
3 to 12
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Harness the power of problem solving with CodeCombat. CodeCombat provides a unique challenge to learn code while playing an engaging game. Escape enemies or navigate a dungeon by typing...more
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Harness the power of problem solving with CodeCombat. CodeCombat provides a unique challenge to learn code while playing an engaging game. Escape enemies or navigate a dungeon by typing basic JavaScript commands. Each level of play provides a new challenge for programmers to experiment the best way to accomplish the goals of the game. Write JavaScript code to direct the character's actions, and then run the code to see what happens. Correct the code if needed to complete the level. Programmers earn accessories, XP, and achievement badges after conquering a level. A series of five stars indicates the difficulty for each level. CodeCombat never feels like a gamified coding course because it makes learning fun. The emphasis is on the game instead of the code. CodeCombat is free to play, but an email is required to create an account to save information and for the multiplayer option. Look under Educator Resources to find the Introduction to Computer Science. A premium upgrade is available for a fee. This review is for the FREE portion only.

In the Classroom

Learning to code is an opportunity to teach students to think and problem solve. Coding is a critical digital literacy skill for the future. Create an after school coding club for students to access the site. Challenge students to write stories to accompany each level of code they complete in CodeCombat. Encourage students to create as they become more advanced in CodeCombat. Provide an environment for students to collaborate to solve the levels.

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Kodable - Surfscore, Inc

Grades
K to 4
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Kodable teaches coding to young children through programming logic, sequence, loops, functions, and debugging. Create one free class account for an unlimited number of students with...more
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Kodable teaches coding to young children through programming logic, sequence, loops, functions, and debugging. Create one free class account for an unlimited number of students with twelve weeks of lessons. There are also informal assessment tools built into lessons that allow you to track student mastery. Find lessons with programming curriculum, explanations of key concepts, and Common Core alignment. You can play without an account; however, results are not saved. Kodable can be used on any web browser or an iPad/iOs device.
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In the Classroom

Use this tool to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to experiment while viewing their results. Kodable is great for differentiating for students with different abilities and learning styles. Keep track of student progress through your teacher account and entering student profiles. Set Kodable up as a learning center and have students to work in pairs to complete the challenges.

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Code - Hadi & Ali Partovi

Grades
K to 10
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Code is designed to spark interest in learning to code, especially among girls and the very young. Find lessons for beginners, Kindergartners to tenth graders (or older). Start by clicking...more
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Code is designed to spark interest in learning to code, especially among girls and the very young. Find lessons for beginners, Kindergartners to tenth graders (or older). Start by clicking Learn in the top menu bar. Find an Hour of Code with 20 puzzles that use a drag and drop process and problem-solving skills. Complete the Hour of Code and select Beyond One Hour. Find everything an early coder needs to get started coding: A K-8 Intro to Computer Science, Tutorials that teach Javascript, Tutorial apps for any device, Learn to program with robots, and many others. There are also "unplugged tutorials" for classrooms without computers. On the top menu, click on the Teach button to find the link to videos (half way down the page) from famous people about how and when they learned to code. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Tube Offline, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. Code.org is available in 20 languages.

In the Classroom

Make coding part of science inquiry or math logic in any classroom. Include it as part of scientific method or discussions about careers in science. You may even want to portray coding as just another "world language" in today's world. Be sure to look at all the implementation advice before introducing these extensive coding resources to your class. It would be wise to complete the Hour of Code yourself so you will feel comfortable helping students if they get stuck. Better yet, invite a few students to do an hour with you after school and learn together! You will have a team of "techsperts" to help their peers. Select the Learn button from the top menu to find two links for educators. The one at the top of the Learn page gives quick tips for prepping for the Hour of Code. The one at the bottom of the slide gives complete instructions for implementing the Hour of Code in your classroom. Plan an hour of Code on nationally designated days or on your own calendar! Invite the PTA/PTO to host a coding event. Select a video to use to introduce Computer Science to your students. Introduce this tool using a projector or interactive whiteboard and bookmark it as a learning station with earbuds/headphones. Encourage students to help each other when they have difficulty. Share this on your website for students to use at home, too. Code teaches the basics. Those students who show a keen interest in coding could learn more by using a program such as Codeacademy, reviewed here.
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