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Having fun with digital logic

Watch Northview High Intro to Computer Science students learn digital logic the fun way

Northview — To someone just passing by what everyone calls “the fishbowl” at Northview High School, it might have appeared for a few days that Danielle Heft’s Intro to Computer Science students were blowing off steam with a board game reminiscent of one that has been played for decades on television’s The Price is Right.

Close, but also so very much more. 

Students were trying their hand at Turing Tumble, described by student Kelly Burke as “a probability simulator, something you can use to test different patterns. And coding is all about writing patterns,” she explained. 

Writing the patterns, Kelly said, “is all trial and error. Once you know what each (colored peg piece) does, where you put them (on the peg board) becomes less random and more purposeful.”

The marble-powered activity was guest-taught by Byron DeVries, a professor from Grand Valley State University’s School of Computing. 

“The (colored Turing) pieces correspond to digital logic,” DeVries said. “The patterns they’re creating tie to coding without ever talking about computers, without actually talking about theory. They’re just having fun.”

Said Heft: “It fits 100% with what the class is.”

DeVries was one of Heft’s professors when she was a student at GVSU, and both sit on the board of directors of Stemming Ideas, a newly formed STEM nonprofit aimed at middle- and high-school students.

Read more from Northview: 
New math class uses real-world applications
Only way to fail is to give up

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio


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