The Roslyn-based Buckley Country Day School recently held its second annual Day of Code for fifth and sixth graders, under the leadership of library director, Patricia Russac. It was an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in computer programming for the entire day.
“It was truly amazing to witness students taking on each challenge with such enthusiasm,” Russac said.
With the help of library assistant, Stephanie Temple, the students embarked on a series of activities to introduce them to the basic principles of coding. They started their journey with the website Pencil Code to learn the fundamentals of programming, how to measure distances and angles, and ways to construct arcs and circles.
The students also created accounts on Scratch, the coding platform from the MIT Media Lab. For this activity, we tapped our talented student Scratch team to help with instruction. The team of students included Alan Barkan, Michael Powers, Lucas Bernard, Henri Yoon, Alex Nishimura, Ian Kopke, and Lucas Sher. These student instructors used their expertise to help others get hooked on the program, and taught their classmates like true professionals.
“They were learning to work with real coding languages,” Russac said. “This provided an opportunity, and a challenge, to work through the programming functions with increasing difficulty. At each level, the students earned points for completing tasks successfully, and it supplied just enough competition among them to persevere through the tougher tasks.”
The world that our learners operate in everyday is one where digital literacy needs to be a fundamental part of education.
“Not knowing the language of computers can create the same challenges as being illiterate, and Buckley firmly believes this is important by its commitment to set aside a full day to learn computer programming,” Russac concluded.