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5 School Subjects That Can Be Taught Using Code

Fill two needs with one deed— find out how educators can introduce coding while teaching traditional school subjects.

Sharmin Alam
November 24, 2019

“Coding is only for computer programmers,” “Creative people don’t code,” “Coding is boring.”

These are some very common misconceptions about coding. In reality, coding can be a fun and creative activity for anyone, and our educators can easily enhance their everyday curriculum using code. Incorporating code into the classroom can help students develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and communication.

Today’s kids are growing up in a digital world. As parents, educators, and community members, we all want to ensure our children have the skills they need to be prepared for the future. But, let’s face it, most of us already have a lot on our plate. However, it’s easier than you might think to incorporate coding into subjects that are already being taught in the classroom.

Let’s explore how coding can be integrated into five different school subjects:

1. Art

Art education is vital to children’s developing brains. It is known to promote brain activity, creativity, problem-solving, and motor skills. Additional benefits of arts exposure can range from physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Understanding the value of such benefits inspired KCJ to create Art:bit. Art:bit, an app that connects with micro:bit, helps to bring out students’ creativity through coding. Students can design their own animations by utilizing block-based coding and physical computing. Art:bit activities are so simple and colourful, perfect for captivating students and turning them into creative animators.

2. Social Studies

When teaching students about different cultures from around the world, try Scratch! This platform will let students use coding blocks to virtually take part in cultural activities, such as Quebec City’s Winter Carnival or a visit to London, England. Scratch projects are challenging, informative, and goal-oriented, helping students to broaden their cultural horizons through coding.

3. Literacy

Before students learn how to write code, they should learn how to write simple and clear instructions. Through Unplugged activities, students will understand that writing instructions for a computer to follow is much different than writing for humans. Unplugged projects give students a chance to practice this new writing style while learning the basics of HTML and CSS. For example, students are introduced to logic operators (AND, OR, and NOT) by adding toppings to a pizza. Each Unplugged activity encourages students to think of coding as a language and challenges them to improve their fluency.

4. Science

Science teaches children about the world around them, helps them generate ideas, make decisions, and problem-solve. When introducing students to the science of radio waves, it’s the perfect time to bring micro:bits into the classroom! A Micro:bit, a tiny, pocket-sized computer, is a versatile and interactive tool which helps lay the foundation for basic physical computing. The micro:bit’s radio function can be used to send messages from one micro:bit to another. Students have the chance to get hands-on experience with radio waves by playing Micro:bit Basketball. By passing an LED ball back and forth, they'll learn about the effect distance and other barriers can have on radio communications.

5. Physical Education

Coding is normally considered an indoor activity, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, coding can encourage students to get up and be active. Students can build their own Fitbits to track their activity and stay motivated. Remember Micro:bits? They can be programmed to be used as pedometers that track and count steps through shakes. This simple, interactive, and educational project can motivate students to be more active inside and outside of their gym class. Check out the step by step (no pun intended) instructions for this project.

All of these projects are as educational as they are engaging. Amongst other things, students will learn about versatility, adaptability, and innovation. Looking for even more ways to incorporate coding, tech, and digital literacy into the classroom? Sign up for a Code in the Classroom in-class workshop or webinar hosted by a KCJ instructor. Funded by CanCode, these workshops are free and available across Canada.