Coding Activities for High School Students

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

Coding activities can be an excellent way to keep your high school computer science students thinking and innovating as they learn and practice new skills. These activities will help you guide students through innovative brainstorming and creation.

Coding Activities for High School

Advanced high school student coders may think they have seen and done it all in the world of coding. These activities will help you prove them wrong. There is always one more app that can be created, a puzzling problem to be solved, and a musical creation that rivals their past beats. You can help your students build an app that solves a real-life challenge, a puzzle that stumps the player, and music that makes everyone want to dance. The only materials you will need for these partner or individual projects are a list of coding language and troubleshooting resources and possibly an example or two.

Life Application

In this activity, students will brainstorm the challenges they face from the time they wake up in the morning to the time they go to bed, including weekends. They can do this exercise with partners or in teams. Then, have students select three of those problems to tackle. Again, a solid brainstorming process can help students get moving forward quickly. Once they have crafted their app idea, it's time to get coding. Provide adequate time, resources, and guidance to accommodate the expertise level of your students.

When the app is complete, have students share with a partner or team and identify any problems and remedies as needed. If you do not have time for them to make the fixes, at least have them reflect and brainstorm some potential solutions. A written reflection is always helpful in coding activities, as students get a chance to identify what they've learned throughout the activity and take pride in their progress.

Puzzle Me

In this activity, students will create a puzzle to stump their classmates. The puzzle can be a simple brainteaser or a complex maze of challenges, depending on your students' level of coding experience. First, provide students time to explore puzzles that already exist, either real-world or virtual. Based on this exploration, students can then brainstorm their own puzzle creations or adapt one they've found. Again, this will depend on the level of expertise.

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