Two students laugh as they work on a coding problem together.

Oakley Elementary School’s STEM Lab and Media Center specialists teamed up to show that even the youngest students can learn how to code.
Using a grant from the Buncombe County Schools Foundation, STEM Lab Assistant Sarah Von Williamsen bought eight sets of OSMO Coding Starter Kits, which make abstract concepts like coding easier to understand. During Hour of Code week in December, she and Media Specialist Melissa Murphy showed every student in the school how computer science can be a viable career option.
“I believe that learning coding in elementary school will allow our students to gain skills in sequencing, problem solving, perseverance, as well as math concepts,” Ms. Von Williamsen said. “These skills will inspire our students to be better writers, mathematicians, engineers, readers, and more.”
On Dec. 8, Ms. Murphy used a game called Code Monkey to help kindergarteners tackle the basics of sequential reasoning – crucial for coding. In the STEM Lab, Ms. Von Williamsen watched with pride as third graders used their OSMO devices to write code by assembling physical blocks.
“They’re giving a character a set of instructions using the blocks,” she said. “It’s laid out the same way that codes actually work, so this is a fun way to build a computer science foundation in a kinesthetic and fun way. This is a great introduction to coding that helps students with diverse learning styles.”

View more photos on Facebook and Instagram.