Teaching Programming in the Early Childhood Years

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Session Description | Agenda | Daisy Dino | Bee Bot | Blockly | Kodable | Tynker

Saturday, September 27 • 1:20pm - 3:15pm

Session Description:
What do bees, dinosaurs, fuzzballs, and hopscotch all have in common? Come and find out in this sessions aimed at teaching programming skills in the early elementary school grades. Coding and programming has gotten a lot of attention lately in edu-news. In fact, some posit that programming should be seen as an academic skill as important to K-12 education as literacy instruction and mathematics. However, programming is often considered an ancillary skill that does not fit into existing curriculum. In addition, elementary age children are often an underserved school population when it comes to incorporating programming into instruction. This presentation will serve to introduce elementary educators (MS teachers welcome too) to a variety of apps that are designed to teach programming to younger children and to illustrate how they can be used in the context of your current content areas. Todays world will require new and novel approaches to solving world problems and crises. Teaching programming is one way to unlock younger students ability to look at problems and come up with unique and innovative solutions. Programming also complements traditional curricula in the areas of math, logic, problem-based learning, and critical thinking.

  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Coding Without Coding
  • Daisy the Dinosaur introduction
  • Break
  • Short DiscussionBee Bots
    • Coding-What we are not teaching in Schools

  • Tynker and Kodable
  • Code.org
  • Conclusions & Reflections


Daisy the Dinosaur

Pros: It builds problem-solving and analytical skills, it’s fun and empowering for young programmers. It's simply cute, with a calm blue sky, yellow sun, green dinosaur, and yellow star, and it makes programming easy, offering nine commands for kids to drag and drop into their program to make Daisy move. Character-based coding games often appeal more to girls, so encourage them to move on to the developer's more in-depth programming app, Hopscotch HD.

Cons: The downside is, if kids get hooked, there's not much to keep them engaged. The challenge mode will take kids only a few minutes to work through, and there's not much innovation that can happen with the nine commands available in free-play mode. There's also no way to save programs. (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/daisy-the-dinosaur)
Great tutorial site and explanation


Great site for introducing Programming into Systems Units/Thinking.

Daisy the Dinosaur-Integration in Reading and Writing

Bee Bots

Great Lesson Plans and Ideas. Also a nice intro on how to use Bee Bots in class across the curriculum.

Bee Bot US

Bee Bot Intro Vids

Bee Bot in Numeracy

Bee Bot in Early Literacy

Google Blockly

Great primer on coding and using repeating/looping blocks


Kodable Class