On July 28th, Ardent Academy Northwood housed an OC Coder Summer Fun Event. The event was run by the OC Coder board members, as well as some general volunteers. I asked one of these volunteers why exactly he was there and how he got involved:

 

“I actually learned how to code through [OC Coder’s] Hour of Code and their Javascript classes so now I volunteer, you know, to give other kids that opportunity.” Daniel Cho

 

With an array of activities encouraging a coding mindset, kids ages 8 to 13 had a blast and made new friends. Students went from room to room taking part in activities relating to code. One room held chess boards with eight year olds yelling, “checkmate!” while another was filled with chatter as half the group made new friends and helped each other decode figures and shapes into sentences, and half partnered up to play Tower of Hanoi, and of course the last was home to laptop lit faces and a projected lesson on Javascript.

 

“We have this Javascript class and then we have a few other noncoding activities that encourage kids to think like a programmer. One of them is Tower of Hanoi, which is like, you have a bunch of rings of decreasing size stacked on a stick, and then you basically have to move the disks to a stick on the opposite side following a certain set of rules. And then another is decoding morse code,” Daniel tells me.

 

Students had loads of fun in each activity, but the favorite by far was the Tower of Hanoi.

 

“I did a tower building [activity] and one where we decoded a bunch of numbers… I liked the tower the best.” Yvonne, 10

 

The goal of the event, though, is not merely to learn how to program, it is also about learning to work well with others.

 

“We have done Chess and Morse Code. [Tower of Hanoi] is really fun though. We basically have to-” “It’s mostly about teamwork.” “-stack, like, circles together, but the bigger ones cannot go on the smaller ones, and you can only take one at a time-” “Yea so he can’t do anything without telling me first-” “-yeah, so that I can move mine without breaking the rules,” Kuran, age 10, and Evan, age 11, tell me.

 

When asked why they decided to dedicate two hours of their weekend to an event based upon coding, these young students were excited to take part in something that exercised their minds and passionate about continuing.

 

“I’m just trying it out,” says Kuran, before turning to ask Evan, “When’s the next one? I really want to come again.”

“My mom signed me up for computer coding and I really liked it… I want to continue doing it, Evan responds to me, before answering Kuran with an “I don’t know.”

 

The next OC Coder event, unfortunately for Kuran, is not until September. However, the school year is full of programing classes and events run by the organization and can be found under the ‘Calendar’ tab of their website linked below.

 

www.occoder.org