One charter school teacher in Oklahoma City has gotten his students started coding–in kindergarten.
Wes Dicken uses Dash and Dot robots from Wonder Workshop to introduce the kids to programming. After all, what kid doesn’t want to control robots?
Learning to code helps kids develop what Dicken calls a mindset that helps them with engineering and development.
“Students are taught to identify the problem, execute a plan, and then evaluate it to see whether or not their plan worked. If it did not work, they can figure out why, and then go back and correct the problem,” he writes for the Hechinger Report.
As it turns out, giving kids the chance to play with robots is great motivation in and of itself.
“Because students will accept any challenge to play with the robots, I employ Dash to teach and practice letters, numbers, sight words and math concepts,” Dicken said. “In these activities, students use coding operations to complete tasks while demonstrating their understanding in relevant subject areas.”
To teach reading and letter recognition, he sets out cards with letters or words printed on them, and has students program the robots to follow a path that will hit the correct one.
The Dash and Dot robots are controlled by a series through apps. With these apps, kids can get the robots to do things like move, or light up with different colors. The apps are free, and can be used with either the Dash robot or the Dot robot. The most advanced of these apps is called “Wonder,” and it will guide kids through a series of challenges that teaches them how to use the robot.
To find out more about Dicken’s process, read his full post on The Hechinger Report.
Getting to mess around with robots is probably the most exciting way to start coding, but there are many others. Check out this list of four ways to get kids going. They don’t have to be as young as kindergarten to get ahead of the game. As Dicken points out, coding is a life-skill that isn’t just crucial for the future–it’s crucial now.