District-wide, students are celebrating the Hour of Code, an international phenomenon brought to us by code.org. This global movement reaches tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. This event is designed to encourage educators across disciplines to try out more than fifty easily-delivered complete lessons. Toms River Regional Schools has again gone above and beyond by offering opportunities across each of our schools.
At the elementary level, this year’s big hit was Code Your Own Dance Party. Students used drag and drop block programming to select characters (Sprites) and then selected from a wide variety of musical choices to choreograph featuring: Katy Perry, Lil Nas X (ft. Billy Ray Cyrus), Jonas Brothers, Panic! At The Disco, Shawn Mendes, Nicki Minaj, KIDZ BOP, Ariana Grande, and Imagine Dragons, just to name a few.
In this lesson, students learned to develop programs that respond to timed events and user inputs as well as create dance animations with code. Non-readers enjoyed coding robots like the code and go mouse, Code-a-pillar and Beebot. Students in first and second grade tried out tools like Sphero, Ozobot, Lego We-Do, and the musical Dash and Dot. Later elementary students coded robots like Finch and Lego EV3 and enjoyed snap circuits and coding micro-controllers like Makey Makey and SAM Labs.
In the intermediate schools, students participated in both programming activities found on the code.org site as well as more advanced robotics programming using Tetrix Max robotics kits funded by Title IV. In Mrs. Natkie’s class at Intermediate East, students were challenged to take existing robots and modify them to be programmed to work autonomously (only with programming, without a joystick) to retrieve objects from shelves and place them on a conveyor belt. These are driven by Arduino micro-controllers that can be used to control everyday objects like lights and motors as well as more complex things like watering systems for gardens. Students also tried out things like programming in Python using micro:bits.
Intermediate students also learned about the application process and technology learning opportunities at each of the high school career academies. At High School North, the Arts Academy builds on a strong culture of arts-infused education, leading students to careers in the Performing, Fine, and Digital Arts, while teaching them to apply their creative skills to other disciplines. The STEAM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) at High School East, includes Schools of Engineering, Biomedicine and Environmental Sustainability, with content in marine science, medicine, engineering, science research, genetics, advanced manufacturing, and more. High School South is the site of the Business Academy. This academy features Schools of Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Real Estate. Having an understanding of computer science across disciplines will prepare our children to have a strong impact on both our local community and global society.
Each high school also had events scheduled that were building-wide opportunities facilitated by Cammie Corrado, Jamie Tesoro, John Miller and Suzanne Signorelli. Students worked through puzzles using algorithmic thinking and logic, coded and debugged programs on the code.org site, and programmed micro-controllers with Python programming. These events are designed to not only help students learn about coding, but also to encourage students to register now for Fall Computer Science and Technology learning opportunities.