This December, sixth graders at CACS teamed up with local developers and joined tens of millions of other students in 180+ countries to participate in a global computer science event called The Hour of Code. UClass, a local ed tech company founded by former teachers (one of whom works at CACS) was excited to spend some time with the population that their technology serves (students and teachers) and asked if they could facilitate the hour of code. CACS students are lucky to attend a school where they are already developing design thinking and applied math skills, so getting involved in the language of the future here in the heart of the tech bubble made perfect sense. CACS teachers immediately saw the application of science and math in coding and opened their classrooms to this authentic learning experience.
The UClass development team, four engineers who love the creative component of their jobs, shared how they got passionate about tech and what it is like to be an engineer. They opened the code base for Google and delighted students by fiddling with the code to plug in student names and new colors and expose the inner workings of the technology that students use every day. CACS 6th graders came with various levels of exposure to coding and were able to engage in engineering games that ranged from specifying coordinates to move a character across a screen to writing the code base for their own unique creations. The common thread between all of the activities was that students were given a problem and a set of tools and had to find solutions on their own.
During the hour of code, students could be seen leaning in to support their classmates in troubleshooting, high-fiving developers when they found their way to an effective solution, and making exclamations about connections to math lessons that arose from their work. CACS works to develop students who are engaged creatively and critically with the world around them. The Hour of Code provided both students and developers the opportunity to be inspired by the possibilities that problem solving opens both online and off.