In the Classroom  |  Tips & Features  |  

Coding is Elementary!

Dec 6, 2017

Java, Ruby, Python … If you had asked me four years ago to name a coding language, I would have been pretty stumped. But, over these past four years, I have developed a better understanding of coding and the importance of coding.

I may not know how to write much code, but I have developed a greater understanding of why it is important for us as educators to expose our learners to code. Coding is viewed as a “new” literacy that is becoming more and more important in the job market. There are more careers available in computer science than there are qualified candidates for these jobs. As educators, we need to create a passion and interest for computer science within the girls and boys in our classrooms. This passion begins with our students as young as elementary school.

My first real experience with code was four years ago, the first time I had students participate in Hour of Code. How we have done Hour of Code has changed each year, but the “why” behind Hour of Code has always remained the same.

Get Started

Find free #HourofCode activities from Wonder Workshop.

The students who are in kindergarten right now will be graduating from high school in the year 2030. The world that they will live and work in is going to be a very different place than our world today. But some of the critical skills will remain the same. We need to develop learners who are problem solvers, critical thinkers, creators, and innovators.

21st-century skills are competencies that all students need to learn and develop. Here at Bay Harbor Elementary School in Suamico, Wisconsin, many of these 21st-century skills are integrated into the teaching and learning of core subject areas. One way our teachers do this is through integrated experiences with coding.

It’s inspiring to watch kindergartners use Bee-Bots to learn the basics of coding as they work on letter sounds. Later in the year, those same students explore force and motion using Sphero and Dash. Walk into a second-grade classroom and see students program Dash as a town crier delivering messages during colonial times. Observe fourth-graders developing ways to show their understanding of the nervous system by programming Dash and Sphero or creating a video game using Bloxels. Listen as you hear students create melodies using the xylophone with Dash in music class. Marvel as they explore perimeter and area using Ozobots. Watch in awe as students create their own data for mean, median, and mode as they program Dash to shoot a basket.

Using task cards with Wonder Workshop’s Dash for coding in math.

Coding is a skill that is being integrated into every content area at our school. Learners become intrinsically motivated when they are asked to solve creative challenges using tools such as Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot, or Spheros, Bee-Bots, Bloxels, and Ozobots.

5 Tips for Coding

1. Find a buddy. Find another teacher who is willing to jump in with you. It’s easier to code with a friend, and more fun!

2. Use Twitter to develop a Personal Learning Network. Follow @wonderworkshop to help develop new ideas and get started. See what our amazing teachers are doing at Bay Harbor by following #bhsailors.

3. Jump in! Don’t feel that you need to be an expert in robotics. Use the Wonder Workshop resources available to you at

4. Two heads are better than one! Collaborate with your Technology Integration Specialist, Gifted and Talented Specialist, and/or your Library Media Specialist. Brainstorm and work together to discover ways to integrate coding into the curriculum.

5. Let your students lead their learning! They may run into roadblocks while coding. Help them develop skills to problem-solve and find the solution on their own. Let their passions and curiosities drive their path.

Learn More

Get started with Wonder Workshop’s resources.

Wonder League Robotics Competition FAQ | Year 8

Hello, robotics enthusiasts! If you’re here, you’re probably as excited as we are about the 8th Annual Wonder League Robotics Competition! To help you and your teams have the best possible experience competing this year, we wanted to share answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Who Can Compete:

Any kid, anywhere in the world, ages 6-8 (Innovator Cup) and 9-12 (Pioneer Cup). There are two age brackets: 6-8 and 9-12 and team members have to fall within the age category at some point during the competition. Participants must be the qualifying age for their bracket on the last day of the competition, but if they gain a year during the competition, that’s OK. They won’t age out! 

Competition Brackets:

  • Innovator Cup (Age 6-8)
  • Pioneer Cup (Age 9-12)

What Makes a Team:

A team is made up of a supervising adult coach, and one or more children (up to 5). That’s right, kids can compete solo, but a coach who is 18+ is needed to help with the submission process. For multi-kid teams, each member must be in the same age bracket. Coaches may have multiple teams and can register all their teams after registering as a coach. Please keep in mind that each team will need a separate Class Connect registration.

Note: Younger students may participate in the 9-12 age category, but please be aware that the missions have been designed with older students and advanced coding skills in mind.

What a Team Needs to Compete:

Class Connect subscription

The team is made up of a supervising adult coach and one to five members

  1. Compatible device
  2. 5′ x 8′ mat of 30cm squares and basic prototyping materials
  3. Teams in 6-8 & 9-12 age brackets will need a Dash robot
  4. Internet access to download and upload materials

Teams will need one Dash robot:

Check Device Compatibility here:

We will be offering a mat image that you are welcome to use and print with your local printer, but teams are absolutely encouraged to make their own if they prefer. For more on how to make your own mat, check out this blog post.

Coaches will, of course, need internet access to download the apps and keep up with the competition as it progresses, and may want to print out some kid-facing materials that we will provide at each stage.

Class Connect Subscription:

To register for the 8th Wonder League Robotics Competition requires a subscription to Class Connect, providing additional resources like standards-aligned content assignable right inside a student’s Blockly app. Learn more about Class Connect here.

If you already have a Class Connect subscription, you have access to register a team, based on your student license amount. If you have more than one team of 5 students, you will need to purchase another Coach Success Pack or consider a larger subscription to accommodate more teams and students.

  1. A Coach Success Pack provides:
    Participation in the WLRC for up to 5 students
    Access to all Missions
    Full access to Class Connect, (including Math Activities and Dash’s Neighborhood), for 5 students and 1 teacher for 7 months
    A discount code for a Dash robot from our online store at

Please note: Teams will need a physical Dash robot to complete the Missions.
The Coaches’ Dashboard in Class Connect will help our coaches register and manage their team(s). The dashboard will be your one-stop shop for all Wonder League Robotics Competition management. You will be able to access the Coaches’ Corner–where all competition-related content and resources will be hosted–the Heartbeat community forum, and all the submission forms right there on the Dashboard.

Accessing Missions for the Innovator Cup and Pioneer Cup:

Once your purchase is completed for Class Connect, you will receive an email to activate your Class Connect license.

Once this license is activated, you will be able to register yourself as a coach and register your teams. This is done on your portal page under the Robotics Competition tab.

Once your team/teams are registered, you will get an additional email from CoAssemble, our partner hosting the missions this year. This email will state you have been registered for the “2022-2023 Coaches Corner Course”.

Click on the link to be redirected to the CoAssemble website, and you will see the course and can access the Coaches’ Corner Guide as well as the Missions (available November 3, 2022).

Still having trouble accessing all the resources in the Coaches’ Corner? If you have previously had a license to Class Connect and registered as a coach, and have not seen Coaches’ Corner added to your CoAssemble list of courses, please email us at, and we will provide assistance.

Last Year’s Missions:

Taking a peek at last year’s missions might help you get a sense of what the competition is like. Just sign in with your Class Connect subscription and register as a coach to take a peek at the previous years by going to the Coaches’ Corner and selecting the desired year.

2022-23 Wonder League Robotics Competition Milestone Dates:

Here are important milestone dates to keep in mind as coaches develop timelines for teams competing in the 2022-23 Wonder League Robotics Competition.


  1. October 21, 2022: Student Team Registration Opens
  2. November 3, 2022: Round One Opens + Five Mission Released
  3. January 13, 2023: Student Team Registration Closes
  4. January 27, 2023: Mission Evidence Submission Closes 
  5. January 28-March 5, 2023: Invitational Round Notification 
  6. February 6, 2023: Invitational Round Opens + Final Mission Released
  7. March 24, 2023: Invitational Round Submission Due 
  8. April 10, 2023: People’s Choice Voting Opens 
  9. April 21, 2023: People’s Choice Voting Closes 
  10. May 4, 2023: 2022-23 Wonder League Robotics Competition Winner Announcement

NEW Award Category: WLRC People’s Choice Award

Teams may opt in to participate in the WLRC People’s Choice Award category by creating a :30 second video explaining the Team’s Invitational Round Final Mission solution that will be shared with the community at in an “online crowd vote” competition. The WLRC People’s Choice Award allows teams to share and celebrate their work in the WLRC and encourage community support in voting for their team. This is an optional category for teams to enter and will not impact scoring of the Invitational Round submission as they will be judged by STEM and Coding experts using a published rubric.

Children’s Privacy:

We take our participants’ privacy very seriously and comply with COPPA when collecting any information. In the invitational round we ask only for the students’ first names, and request parents’ permission. For those that make it into the Invitational Round, we ask for full names, again with permission. We are never marketing, selling to, or corresponding with children. All contact is through the proxy of the coach.