Binary by plastic fish. Blindfold programmed instructions.
This was an unconventional way of teaching the basics of computer science to a young 437 USD student at Auburn-Washburn.
But again, nothing computer science kids fall into from the start, says Haley Schmitz.
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Mr. Schmitz is a computer science teacher at Washburn Rural High School and an advisor to the Computer Science Honor Society. According to her, she is a hodgepodge of nine high school students interested in the possibility of pursuing a career in this field.
The group held its first Coding Carnival on Tuesday night to celebrate Computer Science Education Week and introduce more young children to a variety of interesting computer science concepts and applications in everyday life.
“At that age, it’s very important to know that computer science is out there, especially given how much the technology is changing,” Schmitz said. “Computer scientists and coders are needed more than ever, and exposing them to young careers allows them to see and start engaging with their potential.”
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According to Schmitz, honors students were responsible for planning and hosting the event, creating a variety of activities that all elementary school levels could enjoy.
At one station, participants took a plastic fish out of a small basin and converted the numbers to binary. At another station, a high school student blindfolded a young counterpart and taught him how to program instructions while having others issue instructions to walk through a maze taped to the floor.
Tej Patel, a third-year student at the Computer Science Honor Society, said:
Sophomore Max Kuhlmann said his passion for the subject led him to join the Honors Society. He hopes to help inspire future generations of students after him.
“It’s good to get people interested and show them that coding is useful and that coding can do a lot,” he said.
Bodhi Elwell, a fourth grader, was one of nearly 100 children registered for the event, and says many of the activities sounded like video games. His mother, Katie Elwell, brought him to free coding carnivals at an early age as a way to explore career possibilities.
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Katie Elwell said such experiences are more meaningful when they come from someone who looks like an elementary school brother or sister, rather than an adult.
“It’s really great that high school students put so much time into this,” she said. , I think it’s a good place to provide this kind of opportunity and allow high school students to share their interests and experiences with younger children.”
Rafael Garcia is an educational reporter for Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone. 785-289-5325. Follow @byRafaelGarcia on Twitter.