Middle School Students Create Through Coding

Middle School Students Create Through Coding photo
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Middle School Students Create Through Coding photo 3
With a growing demand for computer programmers, Amityville is giving its students a chance to explore career possibilities with lessons in coding.

The district has introduced the kidOYO program, an online educational community that delivers personalized project-based learning in computer science and engineering. Edmund W. Miles Middle School math teacher Dr. Linda Pfaffe has made this the focus of her seventh-grade STEAM class, a new elective that meets every other day. 

Throughout the year, students will learn five different programming languages, including commonly used ones like Scratch and Python. They began by making simple video games in which the arrow keys control movement. Challenges will become tougher as the year progresses, and students move at their own pace. 

“Computer programming is an essential skill for today’s students,” Dr. Pfaffe said. “In a world where the internet can satisfy almost any question in seconds, technical skills will enable them to succeed.”

Dr. Pfaffe added that while many students are adept at using technology, they do not necessarily understand what makes it work. Coding is the logic and science that controls technology, and by learning to code students move from consumers to producers. She explained that programming is very literal and precise, which gives students a chance to develop their problem-solving skills.  

In addition to her own instruction, Dr. Pfaffe provides students with video tutorials on computer programming. KidOYO offers a moderated bulletin board so the youngsters can ask questions and share ideas.   

Much class time is devoted to independent inquiry in which students are thinking, collaborating, designing and refining. Seventh-grader Agin Shehu said he enjoys programming because it allows him to be creative and explore new ideas. He said he would consider a career in computer science and this class gives him a head start for the future.