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Unplugged Coding

Many people cringe at the thought of coding…unplugged coding isn’t scary at all. In fact, unplugged coding can turn a mundane task in your classroom into a super fun activity. I personally have had many unplugged coding experiences with toddlers, threes, and pre-k students. The joy on their faces when they step on an if/then code is priceless. Let’s take a journey through some simple codes that we see in our daily lives that we use in unplugged coding experiences in the classroom.

The first code is very simple. It begins with a start command.

The start command can be a simple picture that says start such as a start button. This allows the students to start at the beginning of the code. The next command is also a part of our every day lives…it is a simple arrow. Arrows can point to the left, right, up, down, or look like a curved arrow. Here is an example of an arrow command.

Of course, no unplugged code would be complete without an if/then code. An if/then code is an image that includes a task. For instance, if you land on a clapping hands code that has a 4(x) attached to the code then you must clap your hands four times when you land on it. These codes add an element of fun for children.

Unplugged coding is an amazing part of a STEM classroom. It is a great way to add an additional spark into your room. I have used unplugged coding in classrooms to help with wait-time situations such as going to the restroom, getting a book from the bookshelf or lining up to go outside. Check out these examples in three different classrooms.

These codes made a huge difference in each of the classrooms. I used plastic circles in one classroom with a start and stop command along with if/then codes. In the other classrooms, I used painters tape along with start and stop commands with arrows and if/then codes. The children are always excited to run the codes.

I challenge you to be brave and step out into the new STEM concept of unplugged coding. Allow yourself to be creative and help your children investigate unplugged coding within your classroom. What is 🛑😁?

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