Computers permeate our lives. Westtown faculty are developing a Prek-12 computational thinking thread in our program. Students should learn to be creators of the programs that we depend upon. They should learn to manipulate or “speak” the coding languages that enable us to interface with the binary universe of machine language. One of the first steps is exposing students to coding and its possibilities. Like their peers in other schools, Westtown students are participating in the Hour of Code program. For instance, students in Physics I worked through 15 levels of coding within the very timely Star Wars themed Java teaching module . In the first 14 levels students learn specific commands and tools. In the 15th level, each student creates an original game. Students learned to think about algorithms, differentiate between parameters and functions, and solve programming tasks. Students helped each other think about how to use the fewest possible commands and let “the computer do the work.” By the 15th level, the challenge was less about understanding commands and much more about designing an interesting game.
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