This post was sponsored by the National 4-H Council – all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
When I think STEM activities I don’t automatically think of the trendy movement to get kids actively learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. My mind wanders to hands on activities, teamwork, creative expression and trial and error. These are just some of the things that kids in 4-H programs encounter and this is how I grew up learning!
October 1st we’re celebrating the 11th 4-H National Youth Science Day all across the USA! This year we are participating in the Code Your World challenge which was developed by Google and the West Virginia University Extension Service! It’s a four part challenge that engages kids in computer science skills by using gaming, dance and even digital animation! Coding isn’t just about typing in letters or dragging blocks around but by learning the cause and effect of things grouped together, perseverance and understanding more about the world they are creating with their actions!
Details on the 4-H National Youth Science Day:
When?: October 1st (it’s annual!)
Where?: Events all across the USA!
How to Participate in the Code Your World Challenge:
Order a Code Your World challenge kit here (geared for ages 8-14) and plan your group event! Whether you are a tech teacher focusing on STEM during the month of October or you’re a parent or teacher that are looking to start up an after school coding club – this is the perfect celebration for you to get your feet wet! OR just set up a one time class that you’d love to share this coding passion with kids!
Why is computer science important?
Computer science sounds very important – and it is! It’s not just a trendy topic but integral in our every day lives! You can find the computer science field affecting the food we buy, games, gadgets, medicine, music, teaching, space programs, shopping, ATMs, fitness, communication and so much more! There is no doubt that technology is constantly evolving and being able to grasp even a basic understanding of coding can help your student prepare themselves for their future career. Plus it’s actually fun to learn!
What does the Code Your World Kit include?
1 Facilitator Guide
10 Youth Workbooks
10 Certificates of Completion
20 Completion Badge Stickers
13 Scratch Coding Challenge Cards
Scratch Username and Password Sheet
2 sets of 26 Dance Code Cards, plus 2 reference cards
5 Wooden Coins
Code Your Dance Poster
13 Unique Scratch Activity Cards
2 Deck of 26 “Code Your Dance” Activity Cards
The USB Drive Includes:
Offline versions of Scratch and Adobe Air (for Mac OS X & Windows)
Animate a Name Offline Instructions
Printable Facilitator Guide
Printable Scratch Coding Challenge Cards
Printable Certificates of Completion Badge Stickers
Printable Youth Workbook (Code Your Dance, AI, Code Your World)
Printable Custom Code Your Dance Cards
Careers with Code Magazine
You don’t have to be skilled in the area of coding to do this Code Your World Challenge kit! The facilitator guide walks you through every step of the process. Don’t be overwhelmed when you open up your kit! Just flip to the first page and start reading! The activities in the book are actually easy enough for teenage teachers to even teach this! Each activity lays out discussion points and questions for you!
Above is a game with the included wooden coins to help students grasp the concept of artificial intelligence through statistics. By playing a simple game of rock paper scissors students can tally results and gather data.
Each activity in the facilitator guide charts out how many minutes you should spend for each event as well as the concepts that are covered during that activity.
I went through this challenge with my kids at home before I donate it to our school and the first thing that we started out with is the Animate a Name challenge that Google and 4-H teamed up to create! It’s an extreme beginner task to introduce kids into coding. The kit offers the ability to do this activity both online and offline depending on your group situation but every student or group of students will need access to a computer.
What I really appreciated is that there are simple “how-to” videos included so that my kids and I could watch exactly how to do the activity. I could then pause the video and go back any time that I needed. They also included very handy action cards for quick reference. Basically you will be learning how to animate letters by dragging and dropping different blocks in a program called Scratch. By dragging and dropping blocks in different orders will change the outcome of the letters you are trying to animate.
Perhaps one of my favorite hands on activities in the Code Your World Challenge kit is the “Code Your Dance” activity! Included are color coded cards for reference to help students understand what parts of the code do. There are yellow action cards, green loop cards and blue conditional cards (if this then that). These cards allow students to map out their coded dance before actually creating it.
My boys had a crazy fun time working on this challenge kit. I wasn’t really sure how they would do with it to be honest. Even my youngest son, who hates technology (crazy right?!), spent 2 hours on the computer working in this kit! I made a fun little video to give you a view of different things we did in the Code Your World Challenge kit so you can get a feel for the various options there are.
Click here for MORE DETAILS on the Code Your World Challenge kit!