Esten Elementary Students Participate in “An Hour of Code”

Computer paraprofessional, Mrs. Rachel Gear works with Mariaeduarda Henrique (gray), and Stephany De Sousa (pink) in the Esten Elementary School computer lab where the 3rd graders worked on coding Star Wars games. photo by Maddie Gear.

In December, Veritas staff reporter Erin Kearns and Veritas photographer Maddie Gear went down to Esten Elementary School to report on the computer programming (coding) that 3rd and 4th graders were learning with the help of teachers, Lisa Ryan and Rachel Gear.  Erin’s story and Maddie’s pictures are below:

By Erin Kearns, Veritas Staff

“I’m trying to make a hippopotamus fly,” says Benjamin Romer a fourth grader at Esten Elementary school as he sat at his computer screen animating a word.

On Thursday, December 8, 2016 Esten Elementary School participated in an Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries. Often schools choose to do coding activities that extend beyond one hour and the week of Hour of Code. Rockland schools did a variety of coding activities during November and December.

Coding is a new form of literacy that encourages critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving.  Success in coding reinforces skills that will make students successful in other areas of life. The Rockland Public School’s commitment to the technology was seen in full force on Thursday as Esten took part in this program.

Students in third grade classes in Rockland demonstrated the fundamentals of game design. They created a program with events and variables to design their own Star Wars game.

“I’m basically just making my own game,” said Jacob Donovan a third grade student at Esten, “and when you get all the people you get 1,000 points, and I think this is a good game to be a game.”

Third grader Aaron Ramponi explained how he was going to make his game saying “I’m trying to create a game. I’m making it by going to command and going to add stormtrooper.”

Esten’s fourth grade classes demonstrated programing fundamentals by creating programs that will animate a word, make characters dance, fly, create music, and design games.

Fourth grader Emilee Dunham explained how she was going to animate her name. She said “I’m animating my name and I’m going to do some sports pictures. I’m going to make each letter change different colors.”

Madeline Kearns explained that she was experimenting with her animated word saying “I’m making a bunch of objects and just experimenting with a bunch of different sounds and codes.”

Rachel Gear, who teaches the computer classes at Esten School along with Lisa Ryan said, “This is only the second day these kids have been doing this program.” about her fourth grade classes. Mrs. Gear is a computer paraprofessional and Mrs. Ryan is Rockland Public Schools’ Technology Instruction Specialist.

Fourth grader Cameron Frautten explained what he was doing. He said, “I’m working on animating my name; right now I’m adding the sound background.”

Understanding coding can provide job opportunities for students in Massachusetts. Nationally 71% of new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs are in computing while only 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Sciences. Massachusetts has 16,808 open jobs with the average salary for a career in this field being $102,015 in the state. This is significantly higher than the average salary in the state.

All photos are by Maddie Gear.  Click on any one to see the gallery.


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