5 Resources to Find Tons of Free Fun Unplugged Coding Activities!

Part of the series, Hour of Code Ideas!

“Falling in love with code means falling in love with problem solving and being a part of a forever ongoing conversation.” – Kathryn Barrett

In a previous post I described why all students should participate in the upcoming Hour of Code event, which takes place December 3rd to 9th. Find more reasons to introduce students to coding in this article, Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started). If you don’t have access to computers, don’t worry because there are several unplugged ways to get students to learn about the technology they use daily. Below are a few ideas with links to plenty more! The activities below don’t require a computer or the Internet and get students to work together to complete tasks.

💡If you like these ideas, take one of my courses or check out my books. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Unplugged Activities

Show students a motherboard! A powerful way to get students to appreciate how computers work is by showing them the inside of a computer. Show students a motherboard and ask them questions about the different parts and to guess what each does. They could do this in small groups and explain their answers. Then introduce some of the basic parts and what each part does. Kids Online explains how a motherboard works by using the metaphor of a city. After students get a close look at the motherboard and learn about the different parts then they can do a writing exercise where they further explain how a motherboard functions as a city.

Another idea is to compare the parts of a computer to the human body. Students can determine what part functions as the brain (CPU), eyes, mouth, etc. Kids Computer World illustrates this metaphor here.

Students can command a robot friend! Computers work by following instructions given by human beings. A great way to introduce this concept is by getting students to practice giving simple commands to a partner who pretends to be a robot. Find the complete lesson plan here.

The following websites provide many more unplugged coding activities, games, and handouts:

  • Code.org lists several “unplugged activities” in a chart with short videos demonstrating the lessons. Each has objectives and standards listed.
  • CS Unplugged has several free printables with pdfs describing the different activities and concepts. Find a list of topics here.
  • CS Unplugged MINES lists several lesson plans for teaching coding, binary, algorithms and more to middle school students. High school students would also enjoy these unplugged activities.
  • Teachers Pay Teachers has free unplugged printables, games, and activities. I like that the materials are created by teachers who tend to have already used them in the classroom.
  • Pinterest also has several unplugged coding activities. What I like about Pinterest is that you  can see images of students doing these activities. The pins often lead to STEM blogs with other interesting resources and activities.
If you like these ideas, take one of my courses or check out my books. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

Challenge: Participate in the Hour of Code event and help students appreciate how technology works!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

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