Welcome educators! You've come to the right place.

With Bitsbox, kids build their own apps. Really.
BITSBOX HOUR OF CODE
Option 1: 100% online

Activity:

Kids spend an hour coding apps on the Bitsbox website. Online activities are primarily tutorial-based, with emphasis on freeform experimentation and discovery.

Preparation:

Extra Credit!
Scroll down to see frequently asked questions for using Bitsbox in your classroom as well as what to do in advance.

Do Bitsbox Online »

Post-HOC

Finished running through Hour of code with your kiddos? See what to do next!

More about Bitsbox
Frequently Asked Questions

What's Bitsbox?

With Bitsbox, children learn to program by creating fun apps that work on computers and gadgets like iPads and Android tablets. The Bitsbox.com website provides each child with a virtual tablet and a place to type their code. The experience starts with lots of guidance, first showing learners exactly what to type, then quickly encouraging them to modify and expand their apps by typing in new commands.

What kinds of kids can use Bitsbox?

We developed Bitsbox for kids as young as six. With younger kids (first through third grades), it's helpful to have an adult close by, but older kids can build apps entirely on their own. No previous programming experience is needed.

What do I need to use Bitsbox in my classroom?

Bitsbox is an online application that runs entirely in the computer browser. Here's what you need to use Bitsbox in your classroom:

How do I get my students started with Bitsbox?

Here are the steps to get your students started with the Bitsbox:
  1. Open Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or IE11+
  2. Go the following web address: bitsbox.com/go
  3. Instruct each student to click the "Build Apps Now" button on the screen.

Why can't my students do Bitsbox entirely on their iPads?

The apps that kids build with Bitsbox are able to be run on tablets, but the actual creation of the apps (the typing and testing part) is best done on a computer with a physical keyboard. (Have you ever tried to type a '{' on an iPad? It's tough!)

How can my students run their apps on a tablet?

Kids can easily run the apps they build on smartphones and tablets. Bitsbox apps are really just web pages; to run them on a device, you open the webpage in that device's web browser. The easiest way to "send" the web address to the device is by using a QR code reader to scan it right off the student's computer screen. Follow these steps:
  1. Install a QR code scanner app on your tablet or phone. These are two good, free options:
    Apple iOS: QR Scanner from Mixerbox
    Android: QR Droid from DroidLa
  2. On a computer, open the student's app in Bitsbox . You'll see a small, gray "share" icon in the upper-right corner of the computer screen.
  3. Click the share icon to show the QR code that's unique to their app.
  4. Use the QR code scanner app on your tablet or phone to scan the QR code on the student's computer screen.
  5. Open the web page that wants to open on your tablet or phone. It's the student's app!

What programming language are students learning with Bitsbox?

Bitsbox uses a special set of commands that are written in JavaScript, one of the most popular programming languages in the world. Bitsbox's commands are short, easy to type, and easy to understand for beginners. As kids progress, they're introduced to more "raw" JavaScript syntax (vocabulary and grammar). We like to say it's a "Dick and Jane" approach to teaching language.

Can I get your printed materials for my classroom?

Yes! We now offer $200 Book Bundles. Each comes with 30 books—more than enough for most classroom or lab setups.

Is there a way to "bulk create" accounts for my students?

Yes there is. We have a bulk account creator just for you. All you need is a CSV file with the usernames and passwords you'd like to have.

Who created Bitsbox?

Bitsbox was invented in 2014 by a pair of Boulder, Colorado-based ex-Google employees named Scott Lininger and Aidan Chopra. They both have kids who would like to learn to code. The Bitsbox website is actually only half of the idea; the other half is a subscription box which arrives at subscribers' homes every month. Learning from print? What an outrageous idea!

As a teacher, how can I stay in the loop about Bitsbox and education?

Click here to sign up for our educator-specific mailing list.

How do I contact the Bitsbox team?

If you have any questions or ideas, please email help@bitsbox.com. We love feedback and bug reports. There's also a little feedback widget in the lower-right corner of bitsbox.com; if you prefer, you can use that instead.

Am I really on the last question? What's next?

Yep, you did it! Why not check out the free print materials?

Get Print Materials »




To do in advance of your Hour of Code with Bitsbox

Here are some things you should do at least a few days before your Hour of Code with Bitsbox.

Read through the Grownup Guide.

You won't be instantly transformed into a software programmer, but you will gain a little better understanding of what's going on with the apps your students are building. Head to the Grownup Guide.

Try building the apps in the Let's App! booklet yourself.

It shouldn't take you more than half an hour, and typing them in yourself is a great way to familiarize yourself with the scope of the projects. Start by going to bitsbox.com/go and clicking Build Apps Now. If you want to know more about what the code actually does, take a look at our Code Translations.

Make sure the Bitsbox website works on the computers your students will use.

Some school districts block unfamiliar websites for safety reasons. Go to bitsbox.com/go and click Build Apps Now. If you get an error message, ask your school's IT person to allow access to the following websites:

If you can, have your students do some typing practice before the Hour of Code.

Introduce the following characters which are necessary for programming:

Read our recommendations for the grade level(s) you teach.

We've put together a step-by-step flow for each of four different age groups:




What's next after Hour of Code?

If you have worked your way through our Let's App! booklet and want to do some more Bitsbox with your class, there are a few different things you can do.

Create free Coding Accounts for your students to save their work.

Bitsbox Coding Accounts are always free, but you need an email address to create one. This is problematic for many K-12 teachers whose students don't have their own email addresses, so we created a Bulk Account Creator tool to help. You can use the tool to create logins and passwords for all of your students.

Download and print more apps for free.

Visit bitsbox.com/more to download and print four more apps that you can give to your students. These are selections from previous months' editions of our Bitsbox Book, and they range from Intermediate to Advanced.

Order a single Bitsbox Book Bundles.

Bitsbox Book Bundles contain 30 full-color, 20-page Bitsbox Books (each with 18-22 apps). We think each Kit should provide anywhere from two weeks to two months worth of content, depending on your students' age and how much time you devote to coding. Book Bundles cost $150, and you can order them on a special page on our website.

The 'Hour of Code™' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

Grownups! Back our Kickstarter.