Building teamwork and engineers at S.S. Seward

Middle school students at S.S. Seward are learning to code!

Instead of a study hall, some sixth and seventh-grade students are taking part in an Amazon Future Engineer program. The company provides the curriculum and training/support for teachers at no charge. It is a comprehensive childhood-to-career program aimed at increasing access to computer science education for children and young adults.

Two boys, both wearing masks, one wearing a red sweatshirt, the other with a green jacket, and glasses, look at a chromebook. The boy on the right is typing on the keyboard.

The program they are working on here in Mrs. Chevrier’s class is called Scratch, having the students create an animation app. It involves critical thinking, math and teamwork. The students are put in pairs to work on their program together. Giving the students partners is key to the program because communication is key.

Two girls look at a chromebook. The one on the left has long brown hair and is wearing a dark shirt and mask. Her hands are on the chromebook typing. The girl on the right has her long dark hair pulled back, is wearing a white mask and a printed shirt.

One partner is the driver, who controls the programming, and the other is the navigator, who helps, observes and offers suggestions. Then they switch roles. This encourages the teammates to communicate with each other, to think ahead, share ideas. It also enforces the theory of “two heads are better than one” and it’s easier to spot mistakes with two sets of eyes on everything.

Two middle school boys, both wearing masks, look at a chromebook. One has his hand on the keyboard. They are looking intensely.

The students have loved it so far. They first watch a video explaining what will be tackled in the upcoming lesson and then get to it!