Coding Activities for Beginners
(listed in alphabetical order)
Code.org is quickly becoming a household name in computer science education for youth. Activities range from an introductory Hour of Code, appropriate for all ages and extended learning courses appropriate for elementary and middle school students, to "unplugged" classroom lesson plans that can be used with or without technology. For beginner students, we recommend the Hour of Code as well as Course 2 or Course 3 (which can be found in the Code Studio on Code.org's website).
CoderDojo Foundation offers a diverse complement of learning resources via their Kata platform. Most of these lessons and activities are designed to be self-directed, with students reading and completing tasks on their own. CoderDojo is constantly adding new languages and challenges for students to complete. This option would be a great fit if you need to meet the needs of a group of students with many different interests and levels of experience!
No computer lab? No problem! CS Unplugged offers a variety of free lesson plans designed to introduce students to critical computer science concepts without ever requiring an actual computer. Most activities can be completed with pencils, paper, and a print-out of one of their free worksheets. Concepts introduced include algorithms, the binary system, sequential thinking, and many more.
Google CSFirst provides a variety of free six-week curriculum modules that introduce students to the basics of programming using Scratch. With a range of themes like Storytelling, Game Design, Music & Sound, and more, CSFirst is a great resource for first-time students and new volunteers looking for ways to get started with learning code!
Hopscotch is a unique resource that is specifically designed for kids to use on iPads or iPhones. Kids can download the Hopscotch app for free and then build projects using a block based programming language. Hopscotch has also created 6 lesson plans designed that are open source and available free!
Kodu allows students with no prior experience coding to begin building animations and games for Xbox and Playstation using block based programming similar to Scratch. Kodu can be used to teach logic and storytelling, as well as programming, and is a great option for Dojos with access to PCs and/or to encourage students to explore on their own at home.
TechGirlz provides a series of open source workshop plans that cover topics ranging from web development to media editing. These free activities are a great framework for volunteers to build on when planning new sessions for Dojo students!
Tinker offers their introductory 6-lesson coding course for free to students just getting started with programming. In a block-based environment similar to the other resourced above, Tynker provides a fun educational environment to introduce younger and less experienced students to the logic and problem solving they will need to master in order to program successfully in the future.