Practice coding skills without the need for technology with these offline coding activities.
One of my favourite skills to teach my kindergarten students (other than fine motor skills) is teaching how to code.
I don’t start my students with technology right away- I wait a few months before I start using robots.That doesn’t mean you can’t start laying the foundation for beginner coding skills before then though!
Purpose of Offline Coding
Why would you want to practice offline coding though? Some teachers and schools may not have access to the technology needed to code (iPads, Chromebooks, laptops or robots).
Another reason is that you want children to start thinking like coders. This sets them up to be successful when coding because they will have certain basic skills:
- problem solving
- sequential thinking
- critical and creative thinking
These skills can be taught in many ways, just through daily classroom activities that you are doing already.
Decompose A Set of Instructions
When coding, you have to break down each action into a set of instructions for the computer to understand what you want.
Getting your students to do this, will help them to start seeing instructions as a series of steps that they have to follow. You can do this with how-to instructions or recipes.
Coding is an abstract way of thinking, you have to use symbols and codes to represent commands.
Introduce this concept by adding arrows to the building center or loose parts table. This will introduce the concept of directional coding, and they will have concrete material to practice with before moving into the abstract.
The language that is used when coding involves the use of if/then statements. For example, “If you move the box, then you will be able to reach the toy.”
Exposing children to these simple statements, and having them do their own, will help them when writing their own code. This can be as simple as adding this wording when you are giving instructions to students.
An algorithm is a process or set of rules that a computer has to follow. Your students can write their own algorithm for how they get ready in the morning, how to make a sandwich, etc.
You can also practice this by sequencing stories, and retelling it.
If you are looking for more ways to teach coding to your students, you can check out my Unplugged Coding post or my Teach Coding in Kindergarten post. They both have lots of information to help you get started on your coding journey.
There are lots of websites with activity ideas for you to try out:
- Thinkfun has 5 Super-Cool Offline Coding Activities
- Code.org has a huge list of Unplugged Activities
- Discovery Education has Offline Coding Activities
Do you teach coding to your students? What are your favourite activities? Let me know in the comments!