RMS Students Introduced To Coding and Computer Programming

Superintendent Michael S. Nelson and Interim Principal Heidi Letendre are pleased to announce that Rochester Memorial students recently participated in several activities to learn about and apply concepts in computer science and coding.

            During Computer Science Education Week, students at Rochester Memorial School participate in the Hour of Code with Media Specialist Sandi Sollauer. The Hour of Code is a global initiative that helps students learn the basics of computer programming and coding, as well as practice creativity and problem-solving skills.

            Following the Hour of Code, K-6 students have further applied the coding

concepts they learned with STEM teacher Scott Huckabee in the Rochester

Memorial School’s STEM Lab.

            Working in small teams, students recently took on a robot race challenge. Using the “Over the River and Through the Woods” song as inspiration, students programmed a variety of robots to complete challenges with the ultimate goal of being able to get their robot to “Grandmother’s House.”

            For the intermediate elementary grades, an obstacle course was set up in the STEM Lab. Groups were given different starting points and a set of constraints were put in place. These constraints required students to program their robots to go over the river, through the woods and through the white and drifted snow, before ending in front of Grandmother’s house. Students in Grades 3-4 programmed Dash Robots through an iPad app. Students in Grades 5-6 used Sphero Bolt robots, also programmed through an iPad app.

            For the primary grades, students contended with fewer obstacles to Grandmother’s house; however, her house was gradually moved to more challenging locations as groups succeeded. Students in grades K-2 used Bee-Bots, which have basic controls of forward, backward, left and right.

            “Here at Rochester Memorial School, we are very fortunate to have the resources for our students to participate in the Hour of Code. Mr. Huckabee and Ms. Sallauer collaborated to make the Hour of Code Week happen at RMS,” Interim Principal Letendre said. “Through these experiences, our students are gaining a stronger understanding of the use of technology in our everyday lives. Our students are growing up in a world where technology is constantly evolving and maybe some of our students will be interested in this career path in the future.”

            Massachusetts Computer Science Practices for students in this grade span focus on the development of coding concepts through exploration, discovery and creativity. The robot race provided the opportunity for students to actively engage and apply coding concepts. Throughout the activity, the students worked in cooperative groups, using their creative and problem-solving skills to develop their solutions. They explored technology through play, tested and evaluated computer code, and corrected “bugs” when they appeared in their code, all while building their coding fluency and technological skills.

            “It’s great to see the Hour of Code embraced so enthusiastically by our students and their teachers every year,” Superintendent Nelson said. “This is not only an excellent opportunity to introduce our younger students to coding, but also allow them to expand their skills in creativity, problem-solving and teamwork.”

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