Published: Dec 27, 2022 07:00 AM
Newtown High School Computer Science Honor Society students ran a “CS Night” for Reed Intermediate School students December 15.
The evening event took place in the school’s Lecture Hall, and roughly 50 Reed students signed up to take part in the event, according to NHS computer science teacher and Computer Science Honor Society Advisor Kristin Violette.
After an introduction by the high school students, Reed students rotated through different workshops — a block coding station, a cryptography station, and a robots station.
At the block coding station students played a mobile app designed by a high school student and then tried to code features of the app using printed-out programming blocks; at the cryptography station students learned the basics of encryption using a Caesar Cipher and encoded and decoded secret messages; and at the robots station students learned about the basics of robotics and sensors, with the robots following a line while avoiding obstacles, Violette shared.
According to Violette, a CS Night for Newtown Middle School students is planned in the coming months. Violette also noted the NHS Computer Science Honor Society is one of three such honor societies in the state.
Violette also announced the NHS Computer Science Honor Society was recently awarded a $900 grant from Lockheed Martin Corporation, “due to our outstanding community outreach programs and continued attempts to encourage and inspire kindergarten to twelfth grade students to take an interest in computer science.”
The NHS Computer Science Honor Society also runs a district-wide newsletter called The Debugger, mentors local Girl Scout troops, and offers Computer Science course awareness initiatives at NHS and NMS.
Reed Intermediate School sixth grade student Ben Crone said he had a lot of fun at the event and he hopes to go next year.
“For my first CS Night it was an interesting experience,” NHS sophomore Julia Camman said. “It was awesome to see how many Reed kids showed up for the night and also seeing diversity with young boys and girls interested in computer science. I loved how the kids were able to be hands-on and create their own code and experience what is behind the app they were playing. I’m looking forward to the next CS Night, which will be an amazing night.”
NHS junior Hayden Bobowick said the CS Night is “a great way to connect with the youth in the community. It’s so rewarding to see a young kid’s face light up when you show them something new.”
NHS junior Sam Stolz said “the future is in good hands” after seeing how much interest the younger students have in Computer Science.
“I had a great time working with the Reed kids on learning how to program simple robots,” said NHS junior Grace Fischer. “Though it was a simple task, teaching them how it works was the whole purpose and they got to learn simple block coding through a fun experience. The world is becoming coding-based, and giving these Reed kids the opportunity of an early step into the coding world is simply awesome.”
Reflecting in an email after the event, Violette said the fact that each CS Night in recent years has “reached full capacity and then some” is an indication that students are eager for Computer Science education.
“I hope that, as a district, we can prioritize this need and offer consistent and equitable kindergarten to twelfth grade computer science education throughout the district,” Violette wrote. She added later, “I think the night was beneficial to all. In fact, sometimes I wonder who learned the most, the Reed students or the high school mentors? It’s quite beautiful and encouraging to see students sharing their love for computer science with other students.”
Education Editor Eliza Van can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHS students and Reed students stand together during the Computer Science Night at NHS on December 15.