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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in elementary education from the University of South Florida. His...
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Challenge Students to Code and They'll Improve Logic, Problem-Solving Skills

The future belongs to those who code.

Whether that’s true or not, it sure sounds good, and it’s is the type of phrase that coders-those who know how to program computers and other technology-like to throw around.

graphic of video game images

I know one thing for sure: gifted students love to code.

With kid-friendly, drop-and-drag programs like code. org, students can practice coding with ease. The site features a free, Hour of Code challenge, where students use coding commands to navigate mazes and obstacles and help an angry bird reach a green pig. The program teaches many lessons.  One is perseverance. In this instant gratification age, students learn they must patiently persist to achieve their outcome. Second, they learn to fail, which can be hard for gifted kiddos, who are often use to achieving goals easily. They learn that their initial efforts are not always successful, and that to reach their goal, they often have to perform many wrong moves and turns before they can figure out the right ones.

Coding also involves much logical thinking. They must reason over and over as they plot their plans.

A great thing about code.org is that the challenge is organized in a way that students must advance through progressively more difficult levels to complete the game. Students learn to repeat or loop commands and have their character, in essence, perform more moves with fewer commands.

When students finish the challenge, they can print out a certificate of completion.

Hour of Code is a fantastic way to introduce students to the concept of coding. The site provides video tutorials and testimonials about coding from technological powerhouses such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates.

I know you might be thinking that the curriculum is already jammed packed or how will you convince administrators that the program is educationally sound? Listen, it’s one hour. Maybe the students could complete the challenge during lunch or come into class early one morning. The experience will definitely engage them—it could change a child’s life and set them on a whole new path, never know.