Bella Vista Elementary students learn to code in TechniteersOct 27, 2016 04:08PM ● By Rubina Halwani
The Techniteers from Bella Vista Elementary. (Rubina Halwani/City Journals)
By Rubina Halwani | [email protected]
Approximately 12 to 14 students in grades four and five were accepted to the Techniteers program at Bella Vista Elementary. The after-school science and technology club allows students to acquire and apply computer science skills. Rebecca Randolph, a third-grade teacher, facilitates students through this eight-week course.
“Students will start by learning the basics of computer science and coding with programs such as Google First, Scratch, Makey Makey and Spheros,” Randolph said.
During the course of the program, students use code to develop their own story. Each class lasts for one hour. If students cannot finish their assignment at school, they may continue at home.
“I want them to walk away each class session wanting to learn more,” Randolph said. “I also want my students to see how this ties itself to the outside world and future job opportunities.”
Before entering the program, students wrote an essay on why they wished to join. Ella, a fifth-grade student, wrote, “I am excited to learn more about computers and what they can be used for.”
Mark, a fourth-grade student wrote, “I would like to learn more about computers and programming, and possibly make a game of my own. I enjoy using computers, and maybe one day I will be able to be a computer game programmer.”
Although several of the students who participated last year returned for this year’s program, there was still a 40 percent decline in participants. Randolph discussed possible reasons for this. Last year, the program was offered to third-grade students as well. The decision was made by Canyon School District to only offer the program to fourth- and fifth-grade students. Additionally, previous sessions were offered in the morning, before school. Randolph said students might be participating in other after-school activities during the time the Techniteers program meets.
Despite the drop, Randolph remains optimistic.
“It does give us the ability to really delve deep into computer science and allows us to try and do more,” Randolph said.
Middle school students may join Tech Troupe, the tech club designed for secondary-level students. At the high school level, students can participate in a number of science or technology clubs and activities. Hillcrest High offers the Science Olympiad club. Brighton High offers the Robotics club.
Techniteers is offered during the fall and spring. Other elementary schools in the Canyon School District also offer the Techniteers course. Dates and times vary per school. For more information about the program, please visit http://techniteer.canyonsdistrict.org. λ