Coding in the Classroom is an outreach initiative in which members of the UT Computer Science community teach coding in local schools, introducing computer science to a broad group of students and building community from within.

Hour of Code

  • Young child learning with headphones on.

  • Hour of Code is an initiative led by the non-profit to encourage non-programmers to spend an hour programming. The Hour of Code lessons are available all year, but the focus of the initiative is to get people to participate during Computer Science Education Week in early December. The goal is to expose people to programming to give them some understanding of what a computer scientist is and so that they may eventually choose that career path—or encourage others to do so.

    Hour of Code Teacher Resources

UT Computer Science has facilitated the Hour of Code initiative at local grade schools since December 2015. The UTCS community—undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—work together to either lead grade-school students through the Hour of Code lesson or to provide support to their teachers as they do so. In exchange for our help, we request that teachers allow each volunteer to introduce themselves and explain why they chose computer science and why they stayed in computer science—our field is large and varied, and we are here for many different reasons. In doing so, we hope to expose the students to the diversity within our field.

Classroom Programs

  • Our classroom programs are designed to introduce students to coding in 6-8 weeks. Working in teams of approximately five, we travel to a local school for an hour each week, and we introduce coding through hands-on activities. We also strive to inspire the students through open-ended projects that capture their imaginations. For most of our programs, we are using LEGO Mindstorms or Kano Kits. You can check out our curricula page for more information. In addition to teaching coding, we introduce the idea of computer science and how its concepts can be used to change the world.

  • Children in classroom smiling at camera

How is it going?

We are currently running or facilitating seven classroom programs at six schools:

  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (High)
  • Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy (Middle)
  • Maplewood Elementary
  • Barbara Jordan Elementary
  • Perez Elementary
  • Sunset Valley Elementary

All told, these programs, which are led by approximately 45 UTCS student mentors, are reaching approximately 230 K-12 students this school year.

While it is too early to measure long-term results, our mentors report that the programs are going well and the students seem interested. We have found that programs that take place during the school day in the classroom (as opposed to an afterschool coding club) are more successful.

Get Your School Involved

Expand computer science at your school and join the thousands of schools who have incorporated high-quality computer science education into their curriculum.


Subscribe to our outreach email list to learn about volunteer opportunities. A background check with Austin Partners in Education is required.

Become a Mentor

Submit an interest form to mentor for Coding in the Classroom.


Donations of any amount are appreciated and help us buy equipment for new programs and offset the cost of transportation.