A Fantastic FREE Resource For Teaching Programming – Code.org

While I was preparing to teach the new Computing curriculum las August, I came across a website called http://www.code.org. It is an American website which aims to encourage people to learn to code.

The ‘Students’ section of the website has four Courses that are aimed at children of differing coding abilities and reading abilities. All of the course feature short instructional videos often featuring famous (American) people such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. The courses are divided into 20 ‘hours’ called Stages. One stage is probably enough for a single lesson.

Each stage requires the children to complete a increasingly difficult coding challenges using drag and drop coding blocks similar to Scratch. These are framed in scenarios that the children will be familiar with such as Angry Birds and Frozen. The children I teach really enjoy working through the puzzles and are making good progress with their coding abilities.

Which Course Should Your Class Do?

I would recommend Course 1 for children with little or no reading ability and probably EYFS, lower KS1 anyway. Course 2 could be attempted by Year 2 or 3 depending on whether they have done any coding before. Course 3 could be used in Year 4 and 5 although the latter stages do get quite tricky. I would save Course 4 for Year 6 or an able Year 5. There is some overlap between course but this is useful for embedding knowledge.

Although the website is American, it does cover pretty much all of the aspects of the programming part of the Computing curriculum. For example there are lessons on sequencing, loops, debugging, conditionals,  binary, functions, computational thinking. Within the course there are also ‘unplugged’ lessons available.

I have found code.org an extremely useful resource which could probably be used to deliver all my programming content and best of all, it is FREE.

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