Connetquot Central School District elementary students worked to enhance their coding skills as they celebrated Computer Science Education Week in early December.
At Idle Hour, fifth grade students worked with computer science and engineering teacher Patrick Brennan to write code for controlled movements using the KidOYO Hatch program, while first graders completed an unplugged activity, discussing movement codes by walking through a lifesized maze design based on the book “Rosie’s Walk.” They then had the chance to code Bee-Bot robots through a smaller-scaled maze. The project not only touched upon the computer science skills they were learning, but also reinforced key English language arts terms as they were asked to use the correct preposition to describe their movements. At Slocum, third grade students worked with Jill Ferraro to discuss introductory Blocky code and then used a program called Maze Code in KidOYO to create their own code. Students at the district’s other elementary schools also engaged in similar activities.
The celebration week was not the first time Connetquot students had a chance to take part in such activities, as the district’s curriculum includes computer science and engineering activities as part of its Innovation Lab initiative. This project enables K-5 students to work with a dedicated computer science and engineering teacher on a rotating basis and up to 18 sessions throughout the year.
Within the labs, activities vary based on grade level, with K-2 primarily being unplugged and grades 3-5 being plugged activities that scaffold based on skill, but all promote critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving. Teachers use various devices, such as Bee-Bots, Legos, Maze Code, Ozobots and, new this year, Kibo robots, to provide the content-rich tradition.
The district is on the forefront of introducing this type of robust program at the elementary level, as it is anticipated that New York State will be adopting new computer science standards for grades K-12 in the near future.