It’s no secret that coding for kids is all the educational rage right now. It teaches important technical skills many of our students will need in their future jobs. But it’s not just about computer science, coding, and robotics. Teaching elementary students to code teaches them problem solving skills in a real-world scenario, something a textbook can never replace.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not influenced in any way by the developing company.
Real-World Coding for Kids
Wonder Workshop gives teachers a concrete way to teach the abstract concepts of coding and robotics. Instead of practicing coding purely on a computer or tablet, students are able to create and test code with an actual robot. One who moves, talks, and even interacts with them.
Students will love trying out all of the free apps to teach each of the different robots to do a variety of things. For teachers, there are activities and professional development to help you get started successfully.
Perfect for Elementary Students
I’ve been testing out one of their robots, Dash, at home this summer. Dash is recommended for ages 6 and up. My 7-year-old absolutely loved testing him out with me!
I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical when I read that Dash would be plug & play right out of the box. However, once I charged it, we were able to get started right away! Even at 7, he was able to navigate through the apps and begin coding with very little help from me.
I can’t say enough about how excited he is to be learning code with Dash this summer. The most common phrase around our house right now is, “Can I play with Dash?” I love that he thinks it’s just playing, when I know it’s so much more.
I know he’s learning how to navigate an unfamiliar app without any instructions from me. He’s discovering and figuring out how to solve problems as they come up. He’s building a growth mindset by trying, failing, and trying again because he knows he can get it right if he just keeps trying.
These are the skills we need our students to learn, both for the classroom and for the adult lives we’re preparing them for.
An App for Every Level
Since he’s just starting out with coding, we worked mostly with the Go and Path apps. They are perfect for younger students. As an upper elementary teacher, I’d use them for a quick introduction to coding.
In an upper elementary classroom, I would recommend primarily using the Blockly and Wonder apps. (I’ve been playing with them after bedtime. Shh!)
Blockly teaches students to code using blocks, similar to what you see on Scratch or Code.org. Wonder is a fun app that feels like a video game, although it’s still teaching students lots of important skills.
Wonder Workshop has lots of lesson plans and activities available on their site to help you plan lessons that your students will love and learn from. And honestly, the apps run themselves. With them, students can code when they finish an assignment early or on the dreaded indoor recess days!
The company also offers a higher level robot, Cue. Cue is recommended for ages 11 and up, and would be perfect for 5th graders who have already done some coding activities.
Professional Development for You
Wonder Workshop also offers a whole suite of PD workshops you can take to learn more about teaching robotics & coding. Since I have the Dash robot, I got the Introduction to Coding and Robotics with Dash & Dot course.
This is a 6 module course, with a completion certificate when you finish. The course is very comprehensive, covering everything from basic pedagogy to ways you can incorporate coding in your classroom and transform your daily instruction.
WIN a free coding robot kit!
If you’re ready to get started teaching coding for kids, enter to win a Wonder Workshop prize pack from Wonder Workshop and WeAreTeachers! Two lucky winners will get to choose between the Elementary and Middle School Wonder Packs.
The Elementary Wonder Pack comes with both the Dash and Dot robots (the one I have is Dash). It also includes tons of accessories and a curriculum guide to make teaching coding easy.
The Middle School Wonder Pack comes with two Cue robots, which are designed for older students. Like the elementary pack, you also get all the accessories, activities, etc. that you’ll need to start using it right away in your classroom.
Head over to WeAreTeachers to see everything that’s included and enter to win one of these amazing prize packs!
Be sure to enter before this awesome giveaway ends at 11:59pm CST on August 14, 2019.