Forward by 100 pixels, turn right, move backward 90 pixels, and repeat three times. These were just some of the commands Nitia Howard typed into a laptop on Saturday afternoon as she guided an animated character through a maze.
"Coding is really not that hard," said Nitia, a fifth-grader at Lakeside Academy who was writing computer code for the first time. "I am learning fast!"
She was one of about 30 kids who attended the "Hour of Code" event held at the Chattanooga Public Library on Saturday afternoon.
Hour of Code, a part of the national Computer Science Education Week, allowed students in third through eighth grades to learn about the computer technology they use daily. The event was sponsored by the library, Hive Chattanooga, PEF, STEM Innovation Hub, Tennessee Code Academy and Carbon 5.
Lauren Wade, STEM program associate at PEF, said the event brought a good mix of kids, some with computer coding experience from school and others who had no idea what coding even meant.
"Hour of Code gives kids a chance to be literate in the language of tomorrow," Wade said. "They are not just participating with technology, but learning to create it."
The kids sat with laptops at round tables on the second floor of the library as teachers, volunteers and computer science professionals wandered among them, answering questions and offering encouragement.
Kids kept jumping up from their chairs and running to look at friends' computer screens, comparing progress and frequently offering advice.
"How did you do that?" one youngster asked, looking at the snowflake a friend created by typing in a series of commands.
"Click here ... no, no, not that way," another child said, showing his friend how to maneuver through a maze.
The verdict of most of the attendees, eyes glued to the computer screens: "This is so cool."
Carina Miller attended the event because she wants to learn how to make her own computer game.
"I have lots of ideas for my game," she said. "There will be a big selection of characters with different abilities."
At age 9, Carina said she thinks computer programming could be her future job.
"I want to keep learning and be a professional programmer," she said.
Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at email@example.com or at 423-757-6592.
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