Computer Coding: Tonka CODES

Our K-5 computer coding curriculum

Inspired by Code.org, we have implemented a K-5 coding curriculum, Tonka Codes, that introduces all students to the language of computer programming. In addition, Tonka Codes simultaneously offers and develops advanced level coursework for students aspiring to specialize in this area. This program is unique– the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota.

As demand for computer programming skills continues to increase in the job market, opportunities remain sparse for students to learn these skills in public schools across the country. Computer programming skills have become essential to our students' success. This is not because they will all grow up to program computers, but because our students need to understand the science behind digital devices, which play such an important role in our modern world. Students need to create technology, not just consume it.

      Coding curriculum tools

      • All students will learn the same basic content per grade level. Decisions about frequency will be made on a school and grade level basis.
      • K-5 students will learn fundamental computer programming skills using a variety of tools:
        • Kindergarten students will use hands-on tool like Bee-Bots and games such as Robot Turtles.
        • First through 5th grade students will use Code.org’s Computer Science Fundamentals courses B-F.
        • Students in kindergarten through fourth grade will also use apps such as ScratchJr to begin using their coding skills to produce projects that demonstrate their learning in other subject areas such as health, reading, social studies, etc.
        • Fifth grade students will also have opportunities to begin exploring Swift Playgrounds, Learn to Code 1 via their 1:1 iPad.
      • After School Opportunities:
        • There will be several after-school extension and skill-building clubs, as well as school-wide and District-wide challenges.

      Long-term goals of the curriculum

      Our long-term goals of the Elementary Coding program span early childhood to high school. In the curriculum, we will...

      • Introduce computer programming through fun, skill-building applications in elementary school English, math, science and art classes to ensure students solidify a foundation of computer programming knowledge and skills.
      • Explore the diverse range of careers that require computer programming skills.
      • Provide opportunities for co-curricular coding, programming activities and clubs, both during and after school.
      • Engage students in programming-based experiences and competitions, including CoderDojo, Droodle, Code Savvy and Girls in Tech.
      • Support extra-curricular opportunities as well as state-level and national competitions in the area of programming.
      • Design more rigorous middle school and high school electives with college-level curriculum, including AP Computer Science and VANTAGE courses to prepare students for top higher education programs.
      • Build a strong portfolio of community and industry partnerships to support higher levels of instruction and better access to industry resources, expertise and opportunities for students.
      Learn more about Tonka Codes:

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