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Friday, January 18, 2019

Williams College students help Pownal 5th-graders learn coding | Berkshire Eagle

Computers know what to do — only if you tell them precisely what you want, summarizes Patricia LeBoeuf, Reporter at Bennington Banner.

Students in Taylor Robinson's fifth-grade class learn coding during the hour of code on Tuesday morning at Pownal Elementary School. 
Photo: Holly Pelczynski - The Bennington Banner
Students at Pownal Elementary School learned that lesson from Williams College students in a workshop Tuesday, part of a brand-new effort from the college to teach fifth-graders about coding.

"Have you guys ever baked cookies with your parents, or followed a recipe?" asked Francesca Hellerman, a Williams College student, of the students in Taylor Robertson's fifth-grade glass. Many hands went up.

"That's a lot like coding," she said.

Hellerman, along with another Williams student, Suzanna Penikis, conducted the workshops as part of a winter session course at the college, Hour of Code. The workshops run Tuesday and Thursday for an hour each at Pownal Elementary in Robertson and Traci Cristofolini's fifth-grade classrooms; they're also bringing the workshop to students in North Adams and Williamstown this month.

Students went through the coding exercises at their own pace, telling the program to do things like print words and make emojis — happy and otherwise...

Recipes for computers
An hour isn't a lot of time to actually teach computer science, he said. The workshops are intended to expose kids to the idea of coding, he said.

Students are given "a bunch of little recipes" to follow — basic coding.

"They're sort of drawing things on the screen," Barowy said. "We also have an extensive set of emojis."

Coding itself can be thought of like writing down a recipe for a computer to follow, he said.

And that's the challenge. 
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Source: Berkshire Eagle


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