It’s Computer Science Education Week! December 5-11 educators, coders, and computer science lovers all over the world come together to code, build, tinker, engineer, make, and discover. Here’s a map from csedweek.org to give you a hint of just how big Computer Science Education Week is this year –
Pretty impressive, right? Computer Science Education Week is a global initiative that teaches students the skills, mindset, and confidence that they need to be successful in a society that is becoming increasingly digitally savvy. Thanks to STAB Computer Science guru Kim Wilkens (better known to most of us as
MissBits), the St. Anne’s-Belfield School library was right in the middle of the action. We invited STAB students of all ages to participate in the Hour of Code with us during a special Pop-Up MakerSpace Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM. When planning the activities, we had the normal questions – how many should we prepare? What time should we start? Will anyone really show up that early?
Tuesday morning, I rolled into work at around 7:15 AM to see a line of students standing outside the library door (just as a reminder, school around here starts with advisories at 8:20 for middle schoolers – so this was a full hour early!). Once we opened the doors at 7:30, the crowd didn’t stop. By the time we wrapped up at 8:20, our MakerSpace had seen 40+ participants ranging from kindergarten through 8th grade.
Attendees spent the hour milling around the library and the library lab. In the lab, they could design 3D ornaments using Tinkercad, create winter scenes with Scratch and Python, and use their computer skills to follow Santa’s winter journey using the Google Santa Tracker. In the library, they could create light up holiday cards to take home using copper conductive tape, batteries, LED lights, and some lessons in circuitry. Budding artists also got hands-on by creating origami snowflakes for the library. The snowflakes are currently creating a blizzard on the front entrance to the library – see the photo above and then stop by before winter break to see this fun and totally student created mini-art installation!
The best part about this MakerSpace wasn’t the blinking lights, shimmering snowflakes, or giant smiles. It was the fact that every activity was lead by STAB students. Activities were brainstormed and designed during CS Open Lab time by middle school students, and this group came early to lead the activities during the MakerSpace time. Middle school experts answered questions, soothed frustrations, and repeated directions to help their classmates reach their MakerSpace goals.
It is a wonderful feeling to teach and share an activity that you love with your students. Just when you think it can’t get any better, your students turn around and share what they’ve learned what a younger student and pass their love for learning along. And their librarian’s heart grew three sizes that day.
Read more and see additional photos on the St. Anne’s-Belfield School blog, STAB365.