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Central York School Board gets lessons in coding

Jessica Schladebeck
505-5438/@JessDispatch

The Central York School Board recently received a lesson in coding from some tech-savvy third-graders.

Stony Brook third grader Landon Smith teaches Central York Board Members Marie Damiano and Barbara Johnson some coding skills

Stony Brook Elementary school students Landon Smith, Avery Coleman and Levy King, along with the other students in Chris Sweitzer's third-grade class, this year have been developing their coding skills and learning all about computer science.

Sweitzer told the board at its most recent meeting late last month that coding teaches not only about computer science but about collaboration, problem-solving and creativity.

Students have the opportunity to learn about coding once a week during a specials period and whenever they finish their math work early, he said. In order to teach the skill, Sweitzer said, he utilizes free curriculum offered on code.org.

According the website, the lessons are a combination of self-guided tutorials and “unplugged activities" that do not require a computer or media device. Each course consists of about 20 lessons that may be implemented as one unit or over the course of a semester.

Students are able to use programs on their Chromebook laptops to code and can also use it to program their classroom robots, Dash and Dot.

"You can program them to sing a song or make a funny sound," Avery said.

Students have also programmed Dash, the bigger of the two bots, to navigate the classroom and into a fort they built.

Landon said the students often help each other out.

"You can ask anyone for help who has already finished that level," he said. "We can also work together if we're working on the same level.

Avery said she enjoyed the challenge of coding.

"I like when you actually have to think about a problem," she said. "I like when it takes you a long time to figure out cause then you're really happy when you do get it."

— Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.