180 Days - Makerspace Focus is Coding

180 Days - Makerspace Focus is Coding

Eleven students at Evans Middle School didn’t want a Makerspace event to end last week.

Students were busy working with robots and learning about computer coding. Armed with tablets and using a Tickle app, they could drag and drop code commands to control a variety of objects.
“It’s fun,” said Jacob Mamlock, a sixth grader.

The after school event was designed to provide students with an opportunity to become programmers. Students were given a specific task - program their rolling robot through a self-created maze taped to the floor. Even the simplest maze presented a challenge. The activity was designed to help students problem-solve, a skill needed when computer programming. Three adults who work with technology on a daily basis were on hand to provide assistance. Angie Sheets, event coordinator, said the purpose of the event was to learn about computer coding.

“The concept of a makerspace is not just to create but to make something within limitations,” said Lisa Jacobs, an instructional technology specialist for Great Prairie Area Education Agency. She brought several rolling robots so that the ratio between students and robots would be low.

Brothers Nolan Rork and Bobby Skinner, both sixth graders, were intent on successfully navigating their rolling robot through a simple maze. “It’s just fun to learn to code,” said Rork. He attends all tech-related events after school. For his brother, it was his first time.

“I catch on fast,” said Skinner.

Sheets was happy with the number of students interested. Each event hosted attracts students.  They bring a friend with them, she noted. She is planning several more after school events throughout the remainder of the year.

“It’s awesome,” said another sixth grader, Landon Platten, another first-timer who plans to return.