10 Tips for Teaching Coding to Middle School Students (And Keeping It Fun!)

Coding for middle school

When it comes to teaching middle school, every teacher knows the importance of keeping their students immersed in the source material from day one. You can engage middle-school students in coding lessons with these fun curriculum resources, teaching strategies, and activities.

Use Coding Games

If you know anything about middle school students, you know they like spending time on their phones, and more often than not, they’re playing the newest hit game. Using coding games keeps students engaged in the course material while also making it fun for them to learn the essentials. To keep students even more motivated, try using a multiplayer coding game where they can compete against each other.

Teach in a Workshop Format

Workshops are an effective way to teach students, whether through an in-person or remote learning format. You start by teaching the lesson, then let the students do independent or group work. At the end of the workshop, you bring the class back together to debrief.

Give Students Lots of Time to Practice

Some students need extra practice or learn at a different pace than others, which is why it is imperative to ensure every student is given ample time not only to complete the assignment but also to practice what they’ve learned. Many students require lots of repetition to completely absorb the material.

Teach Debugging Early

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to write code and being unable to determine why it’s not working. Teaching debugging early prepares students to become active problem-solvers. When students learn how to identify and solve errors, they will be less likely to make them going forward.

Encourage Students to Experiment

Make sure your students know that in coding class, nothing is off the table. Some of the best new technology was invented because somebody asked “what if?” Boost your students’ confidence and creativity by telling them the sky’s the limit and encouraging them to try out their ideas.

Give Students More and More Independence

After teaching the day’s lesson, give your students time to try out the concepts by themselves. Allowing them the independence to apply their learning on their own will bolster their confidence and allow them to grow proficient in their skill sets.

Provide Differentiated Instructions for Students Learning at Different Speeds

Today’s classrooms are more diverse in every way than ever before, and that means our teaching methods have to be varied as well. Some students may have prior experience or pick up coding quickly, while for others, it may be a while before it finally “clicks” for them. Make sure that there are plenty of distinct learning methods available for students with different learning needs.

Act As a Guide Rather Than an Expert

Many students in this day and age are efficient at picking up on how to use new technology, and don’t need to be hand-held through the process of learning how to code. Guide them and be their cheerleader, their supporter, and their role model. Help them when necessary, but make sure to take a step back when they are working well enough on their own.

Have Students Reflect on Their Learning

This strategy will help your students solidify the purpose of the knowledge they’ve gained through the lesson, and can be especially helpful for students who are reluctant to learn coding. A reflection exercise will lead them to consider why what they’re learning is important and how they can use it in the future.

Use a Curriculum With Built-In Teacher Resources

Make it easy on yourself! Some curriculum options are built with the teacher in mind to help streamline their teaching of the subject matter in a way that makes it easier for them to support their students and lead them to success. For example, Yeti Academy was designed with teachers in mind and includes all the lesson plans, presentations, assessments, and other resources teachers need.

Get More Middle School Coding Resources from Yeti Academy!

Yeti Academy has all the resources you need to engage your students throughout this school year and beyond. When your students reflect back on their early coding lessons, they won’t remember what coding program they used, but they will remember you, the teacher who successfully taught them the essentials they needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Sign up for a demo of Yeti academy or check out our blog for more STEM teaching resources.

 

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