On Saturday, Dec. 3, HISD Advanced Academics and the STEM Teacher Development team hosted “Crack the Code: A Coding Challenge Day” with HISD students to kick off Computer Science Education Week, which is Dec. 5–11. Students and teachers from 27 district elementary and middle schools participated in the challenge day, which was held simultaneously at two locations – Southmayd and McGowen elementary schools.
With the help of STEM Teacher Development Specialists and teachers from TIF4 STEM Cadre schools, participants moved through a variety of stations, including Scratch programming, Makey Makey physical computing, iPad programming apps, and unplugged activities that required programmers to write code to move people through mazes and obstacle courses.
Coding helps students become better creative problem solvers, because it develops computational thinking skills such as decomposition, abstraction, pattern recognition, and evaluation. These skills are important components of the Global Graduate profile and a requirement for success in the 21st-century job market.
The various teams received recognition in categories such as Best Collaboration, Focus on Task, Deep Thinkers, and Unique Design. HISD teachers received professional development credit for engaging in the activities with their students.