‘Hour of Code’ at Garfield Elementary School

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‘Hour of Code’ at Garfield Elementary School
Students enjoying 'Hour of Code' at Garfield Elementary SchoolOzobots, robots and algorithms, oh my!

Garfield Elementary students learned about all of this and more as they delved into the world of computer programming during the school’s first-ever “Hour of Code” event.

Hour of Code is an annual global computer science initiative that creates a fun and creative environment for students in all grade levels to be introduced to the concepts of computer programming.

Happy student at 'Hour of Code'The event takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week (December 3-9). For one hour, all eyes are on computer science, with much of the focus on problem-solving -- an essential life skill.

While several schools throughout the district participated, Garfield Elementary welcomed special guests from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Educational Service District 113. The visitors walked from classroom to classroom, guided by fifth-grade student ambassadors, to observe students learn and discover through a variety of computer science activities.

Fifth graders Zadie Buker, Ryan Waltermeyer and Landin Vargas shared how they built and programmed a robot. The three students took pride in showing off how their robot could turn, spin around, follow a line and stop suddenly when faced with an obstacle blocking its path.

“It’s really fun to program robots to do a bunch of cool things,” Zadie said. Ryan added, “I like that we got to code a robot to do pretty much infinite things.” Code is defined as the language written by humans to communicate with computers to complete a process.

Students exploring robotics during 'Hour of Code'In another classroom, first grader Tyler Kish demonstrated Ozobots — small shiny toy robots with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that teach students how to do basic programming. Robots are trained to follow patterns on the surfaces they roll over. Ozobots can identify lines, colors and codes on digital surfaces such as a computer tablet, and on physical surfaces such as paper.

School librarian Kathryn Beattie, who coordinated the Hour of Code with fifth-grade teacher Jeremy McIntosh, said the event went “exceptionally well” as evidenced by the number of students who talked for days after about how much fun they had.

“I learned a lot from the kids,” she said. “That was one of the coolest things for me — introducing it, finding out how much they can do and naturally know, and then having them teach me about it.”