Lower Merion High School educators recently organized a pair of STEM-related programs aimed at building and expanding inclusivity in computer science education.
Teachers Tom Swope, Justin Mansor and Taj Byrd first coordinated an event to help promote and engage African-American students in computer science opportunities and experiences. Students were nominated by their math and science teachers before Swope and Byrd narrowed the candidates down to 30 participants. These students, who have a demonstrated track record of academic excellence, had the opportunity to take part in a day of technology-related collaboration, challenges and mentoring facilitated by computer science professionals at the Flux facility in Norristown.
The morning session involved a hands-on "micro:bit" activity where students used the tiny programmable computers and Python to write code which would guide a robot through a set of challenges. Students then took part in a drone competition where they programmed a "Parrot Mambo Fly" mini-drone to successfully navigate through the twists and turns of an indoor obstacle course.
Swope and Mansor also put together a program in partnership with Susquehanna International Group (SIG) to host more than 100 girls from twelve local high schools at Girls.hack("LM"). Throughout the event, the teams used their creativity and programming knowledge to design and create a game in Java. The goal for the day was to help spark a passion in the field and encourage those in attendance to continue studying computer science.
LMSD's Strategic Plan, "All Forward," provides a framework for a collective, intentional and positive approach to change. Its five aspirational pathways guide us toward continual innovation and transformation to further educational excellence for every student. These programs serve as examples of Strategic Pathway #2: Transformative Curriculum. To learn more about #LMSDAllForward and the Strategic Pathways, click here.