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Grade 7 Students Step into Coding and STEM

Photo: Westcreek PS students Andrew and Nathaniel collaborate during the Hour of Code activity at the Coding Conference on December 10th.

Dunbarton High School hosts first ever Coding Conference for feeder schools

On December 10th Grade 7 students from Dunbarton High School’s feeder schools gathered at the secondary school to be immersed in a half-day of coding and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Computer Science Education Week

Karen Papadopoulos, Head of Library at Dunbarton HS in Pickering, says the Coding Conference was organized in observance of Computer Science Education Week (December 9th – 15th).

Computer Science Education Week is celebrated annually through the Hour of Code campaign, which is supported by educators all over the world. The Hour of Code Campaign began as a one-hour introduction to coding, but has since grown to encompass a variety of computer science-related activities throughout the year.

“This was the perfect opportunity to work with our feeder schools and community partners,” explains Papadopoulos.

Hands-on Coding and STEM

The day started with an introduction to the history of coding and STEM from Jane Kennedy, STEM and Science Facilitator at the Durham District School Board (DDSB).

Afterwards, Grade 7 students coded micro bits to play a game of rock-paper-scissors, participated in a classic Hour of Code activity using coding websites, travelled through the solar system using virtual reality headsets, programmed VEX robots to move and pick up objects at will, and so much more.

Papadopoulos says the Grade 10, 11, and 12 Computer Science students played a huge part in organizing and facilitating the Coding Conference for the younger students. The secondary students led the Grade 7 students through their activity rotations, answered their burning questions, and walked them through the basics of coding.

Three post-secondary institutions were also in attendance to provide information to those students interested in pursuing further education in computer science and STEM programs after high school.

“We have Durham College, University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, and Ontario Tech University representatives here from their Engineering or Computer Science programs. They are available to speak with our Dunbarton HS students throughout the day,” says Papadopoulos.

A Door to the Future

Dunbarton HS Grade 11 students Sujan Sivarajah and Jayden Gagnon say they were excited to help out with the conference.

“It’s another way for us to learn and strengthen our coding skills,” says Sivarajah.

Gagnon adds, “These skills are a new door to the future, so it’s important for us to pass those on.”

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