Students learn to program and computer code

Principal Juli Bronner found herself tiptoeing instead of walking the halls at Boise’s Monroe Elementary on Monday. It was so quiet.

“This is not normal,” she said.

Nearly 290 kindergartners through six graders were engrossed at their laptops for a school-wide coding event called Hour of Code. The nationwide initiative is part of Computer Science Education Week, and 478 Idaho schools are participating in’s Hour of Code, which offers an introduction to computer coding and programming.

“The fact that it’s so quiet in the building right now says it all,” Bronner said. “It shows that students are engaged with what they are doing.”

Lily Gibbons created a dance party for a Corgi on her Chromebook. She used a Java-based, drag-and-drop experience to get a Corgi to dance to the Katy Perry song “Firework.” The idea is to lay out the foundation for eventual text-based computer programming.

“It’s like a math problem,” the fifth-grader said. “This is cool.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer-science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs.

“Students are learning how to problem solve and use a different type of language to talk to computers to get it to work,” said Cathy Kerns, a fifth-grade teacher.

Win an iPad for coding

Anyone can participate in Hour of Code and possibly win an iPad mini or $50 Amazon gift card. Teachers, students and families can visit to access the free Hour of Code lessons available online.

The Idaho Digital Learning Academy, Idaho STEM Action Center, Idaho Technology Council, Micron Foundation and the Idaho National Laboratory teamed up to challenge students to participate.

Click here to enter.

Public Hour of Code events this week at Trailhead Boise.

Date Time Event
12/5 12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch ‘n Tech: The Boise Tech Landscape & Opportunities
12/5 4:00pm – 6:00pm Community Event: Intro to Code Workshop
12/5 6:30pm – 8:00pm Open House
12/6 11:00am – 12:00pm Tech Talk: Women in Tech
12/6 6:00pm – 8:00pm Community Event: Intro to Code Workshop
12/7 12:00pm – 2:00pm Community Event: Intro to Code Workshop
12/8 10:00am – 6:00pm Intro to Programming Course



Andrew Reed

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