PlayWorthy: Hour of Code


Reviewed by Becky Palmer-Scott, Editor

codeOrgHour of Code, found at, is part of a free browser-based computer science curriculum for grades K-8. It is sponsored by, a nonprofit founded in 2013 dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available to more schools and increasing participation by women and under-represented students of color.

Hour of Code teaches basic computer programming in a series of increasingly difficult puzzles where players direct an avatar through a maze. Engaging and accessible, the game deftly guides players from writing a simple two-step program into using repeat loops and if/then/else statements. With videos by luminaries such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, and avatars from Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, it brings a glamour factor to programming.

To promote the product in schools, is holding a CS Education Week from December 8 – 14, 2014. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win $10,000 worth of technology and video chats with special guests.

Using drag-and-drop code blocks, the building process looks nearly identical to Scratch, the programming language designed for kids by MIT. Where Scratch gives users more creative freedom, Hour of Code provides better instruction.

Hour of Code

The website presents other teaching activities as well, including creating a “flappy bird” game, creating art with code, an intro to JavaScript, app programming for IOS and Android, a taste of Python programming, tutorials to build games, and several 20-hour online courses in Code Studio. Teachers who register can add students and track progress, a useful classroom feature.

Do you know of good learning games you would like to tell others about? Write to our editor at


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