Hour of Code is teaching elementary school students in Regional School Unit 1 about logic and problem-solving. Contributed

Earlier this month, students at Dike Newell Elementary School and Woolwich Central School were introduced to the language of computers: coding.

Librarians Abby Luchies of Woolwich Central and Lisa Hardman of Dike Newell enrolled their schools in the Hour of Code, an educational campaign that helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity.

“[Hour of Code] a nice way to lift the veil surrounding these machines in our pockets,” said Luchies. “It’s also a good exercise in perseverance; you mess up a lot and have to keep trying to get your code to work.”

Depending on the age of the students, Luchies and Hardman chose different exercises — some web-based, some machine-based and some on paper. Sue Michaud’s second grade class at Dike Newell learned basic sequencing with the library’s “Bee-Bots,” simple robots whose motion can be controlled with directional arrows.

Hardman started the class with two picture books that introduced the concepts of coding: “Coding 1, 2, 3,” by Janet Slingerland, and “How to Code a Sandcastle,” by Josh Funk. Students then placed their Bee-Bots on grids and took turns programming the bots to move to specific squares.

“Using [the Bee-Bots] really gets kids excited. There’s equal interest for both the boys and girls,” said Hardman. “They were grant-funded by the Perloff Foundation and we’ve had a great experience with them.”

Hardman and Luchies hope that the Hour of Code has shown students that anyone can learn how to code, and to pursue their interest if they enjoyed it.

“It’s another way to get students to see outside the walls of our school and start thinking about their future,” said Luchies. “We tell them, ‘You can do it!’ ”

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