June 20, 2024

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Science It Works

Whitlow Elementary brings coding lessons to the gym with new STEM education tool

Splats Pic 1.jpeg
A student uses a device to code Unruly Splats to create a new game using the floor buttons. Photo for the FCN.

“They get a kick out of that,” Evans said. “It makes a sound and lights up. And so that’s been a fun way [to add it to] something we already do in the gym.”

Not only are students learning to code more quickly, but they love the program. The students can play games using newfound coding skills, and they can take charge of their own activities and learning.

Earlier in the year, Brott said Whitlow’s students were asked to give a quote to the yearbook about their favorite part of the school year so far, and one student immediately pointed to Brott’s and Evans’ class.

“This student was just mesmerized by the fact that we could have coding and PE together,” Brott said. “She just thought that was the greatest thing in her entire year that she could combine those two things.”

STEM has always been an important focus at Whitlow, where cross-curricular programs have been created to help bring STEM to various classrooms. The school has a Georgia State STEM Certification and was the first elementary school in the state to earn the internationally recognized Cognia STEM Certification, according to a press release.

But Brott said both students and teachers have been surprised to see how well STEM and PE curriculums can work together.

“The combination of PE and coding is just one example of how our teachers creatively insert STEM concepts every day, in every subject,” Principal Lynne Castleberry said. “When we started our STEM journey, we saw an overall improvement in test scores for students who were underperformers in the past. That’s because prioritizing STEM means prioritizing student-driven instruction and hands-on, collaborative learning.”