This pandemic has shown us that we Virginians can do anything when we put our minds to it. Families have found new ways to entertain themselves. Teachers have developed technological superpowers and discovered unique ways to keep their students engaged virtually. And parents have discovered having Zoom meetings are almost always better while wearing pajama bottoms.
While uncertainty has loomed over families for months, CodeVA has responded to COVID by providing computer science opportunities for families and teachers. As always, CodeVA provides free computer science professional development to public school educators K-12. However, the other extension of CodeVA, Eureka Workshop, has also responded by providing both plugged and unplugged activities for students and families.
Eureka Workshop is the student programming side of CodeVA. It allows students to use their creativity while integrating art with computer science. Combining problem-solving skills of the visual arts and coding, it introduces children to the world of computational thinking through play. Some of the exciting things that Eureka has been offering families are online demonstrations through platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Activities have ranged from creating animated characters, using Scratch and Aesprite, to learning how to make a song using Earsketch. In addition, Eureka specializes in summer computer science programs. This summer the courses are virtual, but they are just as engaging. A few of the courses offered include 3D Exploration, Robot Programming, and Pixel Art with openings still available.
CodeVA believes computer science education should be available to all students. To ensure this happens, Eureka developed a weekly newsletter called Compiling CS that consisted of various themed activities for each grade level from K-8. Each week explored how daily activities included computer science in some way. Through Project Snail Mail, families engage in unplugged computer science activities that can be done anywhere without an electronic device. It’s a way for the whole family to engage in some meaningful, thought-provoking computer science activities. Don’t worry if you’re not computer savvy, these activities are meant to teach even the novice.
If it’s time for your child to take a break from Fortnite, Minecraft, or TikTok, take a look at some of the activities that Eureka has already created. For more information, please visit codevirginia.org.