The mascot of Belview Elementary School is the Belview Bee.

Photo by Liz Kirchner
Mrs. Bibb’s Belview Elementary School’s second-grade class work together to program small computers to perform a task.

Fitting, then, that on a colorful rug in the middle of Mrs. Bibb’s second-grade class, children are clustered around plastic mats printed with a grid of pictures of wheat, whales, whistles and cats with long whiskers.

The kids are programming a fist-sized computer shaped like a smiling yellow bee called a Bee-Bot.

Programming the bot, working together as a team, de-bugging and not giving up is part of an on-going effort to establish computer science skills in early education, and this is Virginia’s Computer Science Education Week.

The week is a national initiative dedicated to increasing awareness of “the transformative role of computing and the need to strengthen computer science education and the role it plays in related disciplines like education, technology, and space exploration,” said a release from Governor Northam’s office announcing Computer Science Education Week.

Virginia is the first state in the nation to adopt computer science and computational thinking, to include coding, as a core subject for all students according to the release, and the administration “is encouraging school districts, teachers, and students to explore coding by taking part in “hour of code” programs.”

Here on the colorful rug, the challenge is to…

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