Introducing HoneyCode

Fall 2016

Coding is a hot field of study. Knowledge of it is essential for people who want to become computer programmers. It requires STEM skills. The younger students are when they start learning it, the easier it is for them to grasp its concepts.

Dream Enrichment Classes, which holds education programs in science, engineering, math and technology for children in the Greater Sacramento, California area, offers an after-school program called HoneyCode in coding. These courses are for students 6 to 12 years of age who are entering the first to the sixth grade.

Course Materials

The program has two levels: HoneyCode Jr. for 1st-and 2nd-graders and HoneyCode for students in the 3rd to 6th grades. Amy Shelley Bayani, a STEM teacher in Silicon Valley, created the content for the program, and Jessica Tindel, the mother of three, owns Dream Enrichment Classes.

Students learn sequencing, patterns, estimation, problem solving and engineering skills. HoneyCode Jr. students use Beebots; small, handheld robots that the students can program. Perhaps in class, the student will create a town that the robots can move around in. Older students use Dash robots, which react to voice commands, move around objects, sing, and dance.

Scratch is the software students use. It is popular with children, teenagers and adults who use it to create animations and interactive stories and games that they share on the Internet. The software creates sequences and rules for the computer to follow.

Students also use Makey Makey, a kit with hardware that lets them imaginatively turn objects into touchpads and then connect their inventions to a computer for a hands-on experience. Tynder is another resource students use to teach themselves programming at their own pace.

Advantages of the Classes

Tindel praises coding because it incorporate STEM skills, makes students better thinkers, prepares them for high school and college and allows them to put together the steps leading to the completion of a project. She also underscores the fact that the discipline gives students the tools to be the creators of technology and not just the users of it. Another benefit of that learning this skill helps to better prepare students for success in a competitive world.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has said that when he started to learn programming all he wanted to do was to make something fun for himself and his sisters. As he learned more, he kept adding to his program little by little. He had fun, and the children enrolled in this education program will probably have fun too as they set out on what could be their career path.

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