Code in Primary School – an initiative in Portugal


The digital training is increasingly a need which has an impact as much in the world of work and in everyday life. According to data from the European Commission, Europe will need about 900,000 workers in ICT areas and about 2 million, if we include the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), already in 2020.

Seeking to respond to these needs, the DGE of the Ministry of Education of Portugal launched the pilot project “Introduction Code in Primary School”, challenging public schools to take part in it in the school year 2015/16 with their students in the 3rd and 4th grade.

Some schools chose to carry out this initiative in Complementary Offer discipline and others in Curriculum Enrichment Activities. Teachers receive training in e-learning system for two months and for the schools was created a monitoring system and online support through a community of practice.

Some of the targets of this initiative are to enable students to be able to:

  • Understand and apply principles and fundamental concepts of computer science;
  • Describe and represent symbolically sequences of daily activities actions;
  • Plan instruction sequences that enable execution of a task;
  • Create instruction sequences involving selection and repetition;
  • Recognize that an algorithm can be reused in different situations;
  • Identify a problem and break it down into sub-problems;
  • To plan and create a structured project;
  • Solve problems;
  • Create animated stories and build games using the development of software;
  • Use Information and Communication Technologies in an accountable, competent, safe and creative

It is intended that this project will be developed in articulation with the different components of the curriculum; students work in groups to build their own projects and there is the sharing of projects developed.

There are different forms of implementation of this project and a variety of resources used among including:

  • Scratch – a visual code language, but also an online community where you can create and share stories, games and interactive animations.
  • Kodu – a visual code language that lets you create and share stories, games and interactive animations.
  • Run Marco – an adventure code game.
  • CodeCombat – a game that teaches students how to write code in real programming languages.
  • Lightbot – allows you to learn concepts such as repetition of cycles, cycles based on a condition
  • Codemonkey – a game that teaches students how to write code in real programming languages.
  • Kodable – teach the basics of programming (from 5 years).
  • – Hour of Code.

We believe that for this project be successful will be necessary a close cooperation between the class teacher and the ICT teacher who implements the project. Students enjoy and want to learn with technology. The proposed activities should be challenging and innovative. Too much repetition of the same activity demotivates and usually discourages the children of these ages.

Coding games helps children go beyond a passive role with technology, using it only to receive information or entertainment, to seeing it as a tool for creating things, expressing their ideas and sharing them with others in an easy way.

It seems to us also important that the school does not focus only on the code education to primary school students. Must be alert with the new trends such as virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D printing and be concerned with create active learning environments that inspire engagement and innovative thinking. Will be great challenges for the creativity of these young students.


“Iniciação à Programação no 1º Ciclo do Ensino Básico”, Direção Geral de Educação, Setembro 2015 –

Article written by: Jose Soares, Scientix Deputy Ambassador

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