YELLOW SPRINGS — Megan Bennett’s third grade class at Mills Lawn Elementary School has been learning code for the past few weeks in conjunction with the Yellow Springs School District’s project based learning model.
However, the class will wrap up the project after the students have visited each of the classes within the school to teach all other students what they have learned in observance of code.org’s “Hour of Code.”
“We’ve been doing … code [for] a long time, like most of the time we’ve been doing code and using a lot of electronics. I love doing stuff of the computer,” third grader Alex Vadausdal said as he taught fifth grader Henry Smith-Heston how to code. ” … It (code) is art mixed with electronics.”
Although the project will end after the students have made a stop at each classroom in the school, Bennett will still encourage her students to practice code in their free time. Since beginning the project, she has observed her students take on a love for code and watched their confidence blossom along the way.
One student, who Bennett described as artistic, created a video tutorial that described how to draw a cat.
“I am amazed at my kids, the things they’ve created are absolutely amazing,” she said. ” … They’re excited to show everyone else how fun coding can be.”
She was inspired to take on the project after a friend of hers, a software engineer, encouraged her to do so. She and her class learned code, or “the language” together, as she had no previous coding experience, starting with code.org then moving onto utilize https://scratch.mit.edu/.
But before teaching the rest of the school how to code, the third graders were assigned to create an animated video or video game alongside a partner in their class, then later have it critiqued by users. They finished the project two weeks ago.
“They’re going to have a leg up on the technology and language,” Bennett said. “Coding is a language and when they’re comfortable and familiar with it and they can see the possibilities of what they can do, I think it’s going to make them excited … to have an idea about [how things work]. It’s great for problem solving … and creativity. [For their project], there was nothing and they had to build it up — I think it will help their confidence in the future knowing that they can create something from the bottom up because they’ve done it before. I think that’s a really good life skill.”
Brenton Bostick, a Yellow Springs resident and computer programmer in Kettering, was seeking volunteer opportunities to assist children in learning code, as he feels that it should be taught as a regular subject such as arithmetic and reading. However, when he arrived at Mills Lawn Elementary School during the “Hour of Code” project, he felt that the students had it handled.
“I was not prepared for everyone already knowing what they are doing. These third graders are pretty amazing,” Bostick said. ” … Coding really is the next subject everyone needs to be confident in and even if you’re not a computer programer, everything in all fields has a computer in it and it would help out with everything that everyone does … I think it can help out everyone, and the sooner you learn in life, the easier it is.”