State Street Students Bring Computer Science Lessons to Life at Coding Camp
A group of State Street students recently used their coding knowledge and creativity while attending the district's Coding Camp. Under the instruction of State Street teacher Ellen Wolford, the students learned HTML coding with websites like Code.org, Scratch, and Bitsbox, and built upon those skills by programming robots. "We started on Code.org first, because it lays the groundwork of coding really well," said Wolford. "Then we moved on to more advanced programs like Bitsbox and Scratch." Bitsbox is designed to look like a tablet, where users can customize the settings of the tablet and apps by manipulating the code. "You get to design what your tablet looks like," Tara, a student, said. She adjusted the color settings to make her tablet purple. In an app, she typed ('purple') in a line of code to change the background color of the app. Some campers preferred the program Scratch for more advanced animations. In Scratch, students used the directional arrows on their keyboards and dragged action buttons into a coding sequence to create a scene. Student Owen took the program a step further, adding music to his project of people spinning around in circles. "It seemed kind of plain without music," he said. He went into the background settings and picked out music with an upbeat tempo, then lined it up to play as the figures spun around, like a dance routine. "That made it better." Will, another student, said that he was working on a project with dinosaurs in Scratch. "I was trying to code it so when I put the dinosaur in, everything would stop, but right now he's just flying into the corner," he said. "So I'm trying to get him to bounce off the walls." Thanks to a grant purchased through the Skaneateles Education Foundation, students then took their coding skills to the next level as they worked with VEX GO robots. Students built the robots using a kit, then programmed it using the VEX GO app, similar to the coding programs they were already familiar with. In the VEX GO app, students experimented with the coding sequence and added loops and other movements to configure a path for the robots to follow. They also figured out how to adjust the robots' velocity. The camp may be over, but these students will take these lessons with them as they continue to explore the STEM field in the years to come.