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Hour of Code: It’s more than just coding!

These 1-hour projects are a fun way to get kids coding, but they’ll learn so much more.

Alpha Sow
3 December 2020

The temperature is dropping, the first snowflakes are falling, and tech-lovers are feeling extra jolly. We know this can only mean one thing: Hour of Code is just around the corner!

Hour of Code is a worldwide event run by Code.org to celebrate and increase student participation in computer science. The annual learning event takes place during Computer Science Education Week - this year that’s from December 7th-13th. With countless STEM activities available in 45 languages, Hour of Code’s goal is to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics.

As an international partner of Code.org, KCJ has adapted THREE of our own Scratch coding projects for Hour of Code. These projects are designed to accommodate everyone. No matter where you are or your level of experience, you can try your hand at one of these 1-hour coding activities.

It’s more than just coding

Hour of Code unites kids from around the world behind one common goal: learning to code! But there’s more to it than that.

Today's kids are growing up in a tech-filled world of screens and social media. Helping kids discover code in a fun and engaging way encourages them to learn how the technology works.

In a high-tech world, we’re seeing an increasing importance of soft skills. While honing their coding skills, Hour of Code participants will gain the confidence to think creatively, communicate, and innovate. They’ll learn to break down problems and apply their coding skills to develop the best solutions. These soft skills will be used their entire lives and open up a whole world of possibilities.

A global community

Since Hour of Code began, over 1 billion students have taken part. This year alone, Hour of Code lists over 53,000 events around the world and 890 in Canada.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to adapt. With many students learning from home and many grown ups trying to find ways to keep children occupied, virtual classes are a great way for kids to keep learning and connecting with other students. In fact, as we move towards a more digital world, kids from different backgrounds, cultures, and cities can now come together and learn in a way that usually wouldn't be possible.

Learning is always more fun when you feel like part of a community. That’s one of the reasons we chose Scratch coding for our Hour of Code activities. Scratch is collaborative in the sense that coders can start from an empty canvas, or they can remix an existing project and share it with other Scratch coders around the world. Coders can browse the projects that others have created, finding inspiration from the things others have built.

Creating with technology, not just consuming it

We’re not the only ones who love Scratch. It’s a favourite among students and teachers, too! Scratch is easy to understand but leaves lots of room for creativity. Coders drag and drop blocks of code, just like digital lego bricks. This makes it easy for beginners to get started but as they progress, they can explore more complicated projects and really flex their creativity.

As the demand for technical and creative skills increases, we want to make sure kids have the confidence to use technology to express their ideas. Kids should be empowered to see tech as a tool, rather than a fixed concept they have to adapt to.

A pathway to further learning

Like spreadsheets or word processors, Scratch serves as a canvas for storytelling. This year, all three of our Hour of Code projects focus on sharing knowledge through stories.

Graphic for Our Heroines document cover page.

In Our Heroines, coders will celebrate six iconic Canadian women by coding a game all about their histories and accomplishments.

In Our Heroines, coders will celebrate six iconic Canadian women by coding a game all about their histories and accomplishments.

Graphic for Social Challenge document cover page.

While completing the #kids2030 Plastics Challenge, coders will see how data visualization tools can tell stories about environmental challenges.

While completing the #kids2030 Plastics Challenge, coders will see how data visualization tools can tell stories about environmental challenges.

Graphic for Social Introduction document cover page.

Coders who try Let Me Introduce Myself will use animation to tell one of the most important stories: their own!

Coders who try Let Me Introduce Myself will use animation to tell one of the most important stories: their own!

Since Scratch is such a fun way to learn, kids might even be tempted to swap their video games for coding from time to time. By taking just one hour to complete any of these activities, new coders will gain access to a whole world of creativity and innovation.

We can’t wait to hear about your Hour of Code experience! Even though Computer Science Education Week starts December 7th, who says you can’t get a head start by downloading the projects right now? Or sign up for a virtual Hour of Code workshop and complete a project with the help of a KCJ instructor.

Whether you take part with your class, your Code Club, your family, or on your own, remember to share your projects by tagging us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and using the hashtag #HourOfCode. Happy coding!

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