‘No Sense Keeping Knowledge to Yourself’

Sixth-grader Leads Coding Club

Vishnu Mano said his students learn how to incorporate writing code into everyday life

Vishnu Mano was selling homemade lemonade at home over the summer when a better way of doing business dawned on him.

The Knapp Forest Elementary sixth-grader decided to enhance his stand — called “Chubby Yoda’s Organic” — by cross-promoting it on his blog of the same name. He taught himself to write the proper code, connected it to the blog and watched sales jump, he said.

It’s an example of what Vishnu calls “brain to action,” and it’s led to more than marketing a fruity drink.

Vishnu’s interest in writing code has blossomed into leading an informal after-school group with real-life applications called “Coder’s Cove.”

Vishnu Mano heads the Coders Cove club at Knapp Forest Elementary School that includes up to 15 students on Friday nights

Vishnu said the group, which meets once a week and some weeks includes a dozen Knapp Forest students, introduces others to writing code used to enhance websites and to create video games.

“We learn to problem-solve and other things,” said Vishnu, whose father, Mano Unni, is a software engineer and whose mother, Bindiya, is a business analyst.

The sixth-grader draws up lesson plans, recruits other students and offers encouragement through an inspirational page he created. Vishnu said he one day hopes to work for the U.S. Army in developing codes for robots intended to help communities.

“My parents have always said the more you share, the more you learn,” he said. “There is no sense in keeping knowledge to yourself. This is what I like — sharing knowledge.”

Vishnu said his priority is to keep it simple. He likens code to having a dog that needs training. Since a dog can’t speak, he said, it requires the use of commands to work with humans. Vishnu said the same is true in learning HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Once students grasp commands, they are well on their way to, for example, creating their own video games.

Coders Cove member Amelia Verbrugge writes code

Knowledge at a Young Age

Fifth-grade teacher Matt Meyer also teaches a tech class forfifth- and sixth-graders at Knapp Forest. Meyer said Vishnu took his idea to organize the club to Principal Scott Haid, who quickly signed on.

Meyer said the students writing advanced code with text is easily at more of a high school than elementary level. But Vishnu has an innate ability to connect with his peers and “helps it make sense,” Meyer said.

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