Hour of Code brings fourth graders to high school for coding activities


Carly Behrens

Freshman Jadyn Balderez assists a fourth grader with programming activities during Hour of Code, Dec. 5. "The kids understood it more than we did our first time because I guess we over-complicate things," Balderaz said. "I really enjoyed it."

By Claire Meyer, Canyon High School

Business and computer science students hosted The Hour of Code program for fourth graders Dec. 5-6 during National Computer Science Education Week in the 1300 hallway.

Reeves-Hinger, Crestview and Lakeview students took part in the event, totaling 300 to 350 participants.

“Hour of Code was started to help introduce people to coding because it’s really underrepresented nationwide in schools,” computer science teacher Lance Culbert said. “The first year I did it, I did it with just my classes. Then I thought, ‘We can expand this.’ We started bringing in all the fourth graders from our feeder schools.”

“The first year I did it, I did it with just my classes. Then I thought, ‘We can expand this.’:”

— Lance Culbert, computer science teacher

Hour of Code featured a series of tutorials designed as games to help elementary-aged children learn about computer science and programming.

“We do a couple of simple programming assignments,” Culbert said. “The assignments are simple because the kids think they’re playing a game, but they’ve actually learned some of the same concepts I teach in my high school class.”

Culbert said high school students are very effective in teaching fourth graders.

“My favorite part is not necessarily watching fourth graders code,” Culbert said. “I love that part, but it’s not my favorite. I enjoy watching high school students really get into helping the younger kids when they’re filling that role of an adult-type teacher.”

Junior Aaron Neeley helped with Hour of Code in previous years.

I enjoy watching high school students really get into helping the younger kids.”

— Lance Culbert

“It’s pretty great,” Neeley said. “Most of the kids that come in there are really quiet, sweet kids. They’ll be nice to you. They’ll be cooperative. Sometimes they’re loud, but for the most part they’re some of the nicest people I’ve met.”

In the future, Culbert said he hopes to make programming a more commonly taught subject.

“We don’t really start teaching programming until high school,” Culbert said. “We’re working on ways we can do some after-school programs or a day camp in the summer to get the interest up, so we increase opportunities for young kids, especially girls. Girls think sometimes with computer fields, it’s a guy thing. It’s not. It’s a coder thing.”

This story was originally published on The Eagle’s Tale on December 12, 2018.