Independent Preschool-8th Grade

December’s Hour of Code Activities

The Hour of Code, which takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 4-10), started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of school-wide and community efforts.

At Swain, we kicked off this initiative between Dec. 4-15, with students in each class participating in one or more coding experiences. Activities will continue throughout the school year, directed by Technology Integration Specialist, Pat Ruffing.

Activities for our Beginning School involved becoming acquainted with the Dash robot (left) and creating step-by-step instructions to move a character named "Fuzz" from Kodable through paths that gradually increased in difficulty.

Lower and Intermediate grades used the courses on Code Studio to code solutions to puzzles with themes such as Minecraft, Star Wars, and Ice Age, as well as the construction of geometric shapes and artistic patterns. In addition, fourth graders worked as teams to program their Dash robots to travel to each of the planets in the correct sequence. Collaboration, research, measurement, and trial and error all factored into the process (pictured below).

Middle school students saw how math and art intersect in the creation of shapes, patterns, and animation with Code Studio and Khan Academy.

Said Mrs. Ruffing: "The platform or programming language used is not as important as the focus on using computational thinking, logic, sequencing, problem solving, and creativity. Our students are learning to break large problems into smaller steps, trouble shooting when something goes wrong (debugging), persistence, and team work. Each small success empowers them to go farther and and accept new challenges. These are valuable skills that can be applied across the curriculum."


The Swain School, 1100 S. 24th St., Allentown, offers a vibrant education to 322 children in Preschool (aged three) - 8th grade. We do this by supplementing our academic program with additional opportunities in arts, athletics, engineering and design, public speaking, character education, technology, science, and languages.

Our beautiful 20-acre campus is conveniently located five minutes off the Lehigh Street exit of I-78, and busing is available to students from many local school districts at no charge.