Kodable in Kindergarten

When people think about computer sciece, they imagine  people with pocket protectors and thick glasses who code all night.-Marissa Mayer

This week is the “Hour of Code” week.  Students from kindergarten through 12th grade are learning computer code through online tutorials.  This campaign is a push by President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates in an effort to create interest in computer science in students in the U.S.

Not one to miss out on all the fun, we found a great app for coding in kindergarten called Kodable.  Kodable is designed for children ages 5-7, but I will say that I know a few grown-ups who have spent an hour or three on it. There is a free version of the app and the Pro version is .99 in the App Store.  Here is a screenshot of Kodable Pro:

KodableappThe object is to program the fuzzy ball to move through the maze to eat the coins by putting the arrows in the correct sequence.  My students were immediately engaged.  Their conversations were analytical and full of strategy.  They worked on this app for 45 minutes and were upset when they had to stop.  What surprised me was how quickly some gave up and how others persevered.  Actually, I should say I was surprised at who gave up and who persevered.  It was not at all as I thought it would be.

Why code?  Well, why not?  It’s always been widely accepted that it is easier for children to learn a foreign language when they are young.   Using these devices is as natural as speaking to our students. Why not let them learn a computer language?

After my students worked diligently on Kodable yesterday, today we took it a step further.  They created a code that needed to be solved by a friend.  They drew the track for the fuzzy ball and had a friend sequence the arrows to correctly move the ball.  First they designed the track, then they added the coins to be obtained, and finally, they drew the number of boxes at the top for each arrow to be placed in sequence.  This means the student had to go back and count for themselves how many turns were needed in order to know how many boxes to draw.  Here are a couple of samples:

coding1

coding2Once it was created, they passed it to a friend who then drew the arrows in the boxes provided to show the correct order.  The friend also had to count the number of coins earned and write the number on the sheet.  They loved this!  Seeing their enthusiasm, I printed out some pre-made track and put it in the math center.  This way they could cut and build their own if they wanted without having to draw.  Here is one a student made at the math center:

coding3

The track was the length of a sheet of paper.  They could cut and edit how ever they chose.  This one had 10 gold coins.

Kodable was a great find.  I am sure we will be working on coding for much longer than this week dedicated for it.  My young inquiring minds are eager to continue and there’s not a pocket protector anywhere to be seen!

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!

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12 thoughts on “Kodable in Kindergarten

  1. I also celebrated Computer Science Education week with “Hour of Code”. I have tech time with K-5 students and all of them coded. K-2 grades used Kodable and I agree, it was AWESOME!

  2. That’s great share – it has been interesting watching the hour of Code happening in the USA. Our curriculum here in the UK is moving the focus of classroom tech more towards coding and programming. I’m working with schools here and blog share’s like this are so helpful!

  3. This is the third year I have had iPads in my Kindergarten class, but just last month we got enough for each student to have their own. Your blog has been very inspirational! Can’t wait to try Kodable! Sounds like a good thing to try the week before Christmas when I’m struggling to keep everyone engaged!

  4. I love your extensions with Kodable! We also played Kodable for Computer Science Education week. I hadn’t thought of taking it further by having the children create their own tracks. What a neat idea!

  5. Our district is going 1:1 in grades 1-12 next year. K will get 10. At first we were told we would get a class set and I was petrified! Then I found your blog and all the cool things I could do with these. Now I am so sad I am not getting a class set. Thank you for sharing such awesome information. I shared your blog with our district tech educator and she thanked me for the gem! I also live in SC. Would love to visit your class one day!

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