‘Hour Of Code’ Engages Students Throughout District

Franklin Middle School 8th Grader David Lin works on his video game during the Hour of Code.

Franklin Township students are once again tackling the challenges posed by the Hour of Code, a worldwide effort to introduce children to computer science.

Held annually during Computer Science Education Week, the Hour of Code is meant to “demystify ‘code’, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science,” according to the event’s web site.

In Franklin, the Hour of Code is being observed through the week of Dec. 11. Each of the district’s nine schools picked a theme for the event, and teachers developed plans to further those themes.

The core of those plans is students writing code for video games.

Franklin Middle School’s theme is based on the Olympics, with students placed in teams representing different countries. The top three teams – in terms of how many lines of code they write – in the school will receive prizes, said Edward Ward head of the district’s IT department.

Some FMS students are also participating in a “Win A Live Chat With A Celebrity” contest, said Deborah Gadek, who is coordinating the event for the school. As the name implies, winning students will be awarded a live chat with a celebrity such as Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson, or Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors basketball team.

The students tweet about their game, tag the celebrity participating in the event, and that celebrity picks who wins the live chat.

Students’ creativity is on display with the code they are writing. One FMS student, Jose (administration asked that his last name not be used) coded a game entirely in Spanish, his native language.

Cadeen Nyammekye, an FMS 7th Grader, demonstrates his game.

Cadeen Nyammekye, a 7th Grader, coded a game called “The Attack” involving ninjas, witches and zombies.

Another student, 8th Grader David Lin, coded a shooting game, the objective of which is to kill aliens.

Lin said that he liked “creating new ideas through programming.”

Gadek said the exercise is “going well.”

After the first two days, she said, FMS students had written 159,000 lines of code. She anticipated hitting more than 300,000 lines of code by the end of Dec. 7.

“This is a great opportunity for students” who want to get into computer science, she said.

All students seem to be responding to event, Gadek said.

“Students that weren’t engaged are so focused, so it’s going really well,” she said.

Gadek said she expected the district to compete nationally in next year’s event.

Here are some scenes of how Code Week is being observed at other district schools, as tweeted by school administrators:


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