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Speaking to Shorecrest Third Graders for the “Hour of Code”

This morning I had the pleasure of speaking to my son’s third grade class at Shorecrest Preparatory School for the “Hour of Code” week.  I decided to focus my talk on three main areas:

  1. The basics of web page design
  2. An overview of how the Internet works
  3. Learning to count in binary

While most of the kids in the class (my son included) had used Google on many platforms, they had no idea that there was HTML code that powered the display of the seamingly simple Google home page.  I taught them how to view the source code of any web page, and they were floored by how much code it took to display Google.com.  Then, in real time I showed them how to write vey simple HTML to create a new Google home page that looked almost identical to the real one. My goal was to get them excited to start learning HTML and building websites.

Next I challenged the class to think about where web pages are stored, and how they actually get to our computers when we type in a URL.  By using the analogy of a mailman and the postal zip code system, I explained IP addresses and basic routing.  I showed them how many “hops” it takes for a simple page request to get to a server, and return the HTML back to the browser.  I also explaining the purpose of routers, switches and hubs so that they understood that “the Internet” is much more than just their laptop and WiFi!

Finally, I attempted to explain how computers were able to talk so fast and cover so much physical ground in the matter of milli-seconds.  I discussed how computers use electricity and light to communicate with each other through the magical language of binary.  I taught the class how to convert “normal” numbers to binary and vice versa.

My goal was to peak the interest of at least one child to learn how to write real code and learn more about technology.  Based on the interest level of all of the kids, and the great thank you letters that I received, I like to think that I achieved that goal!!

A special thanks to Mrs. Hensler, Mrs. St. Amand, and Dr. Bianco for allowing me to speak to the entire third grade!

Below are the slides that I used, and a few pics and tweets.

Counting in binary:


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