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Incorporating science standards, having a blast

Alpine Elementary fourth graders Amya Quiroga and Ryhanna West are fans of computer coding.

“Today, I just learned that even though they’re dances, they still could be science,” said Amya.

Added Ryhanna: “There are different things you can choose. The science we learn is really cool and other people should learn it.”

Good feedback for Kenowa Hills K-5 STEM teacher Michele Dykstra, who led students including Amya and Ryhanna in Hour of Code Dec. 9-15 during Computer Science Education Week at Alpine and Zinser Elementary Schools.

“For every 10 people in computer science, seven of them are men. This opens the eyes to females, especially … ,” Dykstra said.

• Just 22% of AP computer science students are women, and only 13% are African American or Hispanic.
• Nine of 10 parents say they want their child to study computer science, but only one in four schools teach computer programming.
• Computing makes up two-thirds of projected new jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
• Computing occupations are among the highest-paying jobs for new graduates, yet fewer than 3% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science and only 8% of STEM graduates are in computer science.

source: Computer Science Education Week

Worldwide Event

Millions of students in more than 180 countries have played hundreds of Hour of Code tutorials in more than 45 languages.

STEM teacher Michele Dykstra helps her students code

In between the Hour of Code instruction, Dykstra showed slides about how many job openings there’ll be in the next century.

“I get some students that say they’d love to do this for a career,” said Dykstra, who sees every K-5 student in the district once a week for 45 minutes. Creating algorithms is part of the state standard for students in grades K-5. “This is a great way to incorporate science standards, and they’re having a blast,” she said.

Dykstra’s class was in its ninth week of coding when they participated in the worldwide event. It was the first time Kenowa Hills took part.

Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week, which was created to recognize the birthday of early 20th century computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

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Cris Greer
Cris Greer
For more than three decades, Cris Greer has been a wordsmith, working in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Much of the past decade, he helped grow the MLive Statewide High School Sports desk as a supervisor, editor and reporter, which included eight newspapers in Michigan and mlive.com. Cris also was a freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press, The Advance and On the Town magazine for many years. A good portion of his early career was spent building and managing the copywriting team in the advertising department at Meijer, Inc., where he oversaw copywriting for print ads, mailers, brochures, signage, several dozen in-house magazines per year and much more.

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