Cracking the code: Kingsport kids taking computer coding to the next level – WCYB
by Samantha Zarek
Monday, February 26th 2018

Dash Dot Robots
Kingsport, TENN. — Computer coding may sound like a difficult thing to learn, but Jefferson Elementary librarian Kristy Williamson-Jackson says it’s actually quite simple when broken down.

“Coding is nothing more than snapping blocks together to get whatever you want to do, whatever you want it to do,” says Williamson-Jackson.

Kids learn how to code through an online curriculum called code.org.

“They learn how to program characters that they’re familiar with…Scrat from Ice Age, Angry Birds, Frozen, Plants vs. Zombies, and they solve puzzles and they are learning coding concepts,” says Williamson-Jackson.

“It gives you problems and it might tell you to do something, and then you have to take the blocks to put it on to make it do what it’s supposed to do,” says 4th grader Meila Mitchell.

This year, robots and other creative pieces have been added into the mix. They take what the students learn online, and put it into real life situations.

“Dash is a robot that the students can control simply with a remote control app. They can code Dash using the blocks, the blockly code that they’ve already learned,” Williamson-Jackson says.

These 4th and 5th graders could probably teach us all a thing or two about coding.

“I like experimenting with the code and see how it works and I like making games and I also check out book out of the library to help me with it a little bit more,” says 4th grader Caroline Harbin.

“I just like the aspect of coding, the way you can do whatever you want with it and just create like games that you can play and its creativity,” says 5th grader Eli Marlow.

Not only are students creative with coding, they also build strong problem solving skills through what they call de-bugging codes that initially didn’t work right.

“Instead of creating your own thing, you can figure out the solution to a problem,” Mitchell says.

“By putting these pieces into our curriculum, it’s giving them that fun excitement that they all love and crave,” Williamson-Jackson says.

WCYB – Published February 26, 2018 – http://wcyb.com/news/tennessee-news/cracking-the-code-kingsport-kids-taking-computer-coding-to-the-next-level