Kids are learning to code with Star Wars themed tutorials.

“This is actually my first time, but I like it,” said Sunrise Elementary School fifth grader Bianca Chavez, working at her classroom Chromebook. She has her future all planned out – “Pediatrician, dancer, a doctor and find a cure for cancer,” she recited. She doesn’t include coding in that list. But by participating in “Hour of Code” she is learning computer science that will be part of her goals.

Each year, HP Inc of Corvallis sends volunteers to schools in Linn and Benton Counties in Oregon to work with kids during Computer Science Education Week.

Last week, hardware engineer Rosanna Bigford and process engineer Frank Glass came from HP to Sunrise to Emmanuel Luvert’s fifth grade classroom.

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“All of you are going to program your own ‘Star Wars’ game,” Bigford told Luvert’s students.

Their task was to send BB-8 from “The Force Awakens” picking up scrap metal around a computer screen.

Bigford and Glass showed students how dragging and dropping blocks of code, or stacking them on top of each other made BB-8 turn right or left, and move up and down.

“We want the kids to see how accessible computer science is and how fun it can be,” Bigford explained.

Bigford says that since computers are involved in nearly every aspect of life, knowing how to manipulate computers is important along with having an understanding of coding.. “It’s a good skill set for kids to have.”

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