Computer science program grows with Orange & Rockland STEM Classroom Grants 

Micro:bit computersThe Florida Union Free School District’s computer science program received $995.89 from the Orange & Rockland STEM Classroom Grants for the purchase of micro:bit technology.  

Micro:bit is a programmable microcontroller that introduces students to the world of coding and electronics, and how hardware and software work together. 

Computer science and special education teacher Evan Lally, who applied for the grant, said that the technology will enhance the educational experience for students, especially as it is suitable for all levels of learners.  

The micro:bit technology will allow students to “engage in hands-on projects, such as creating interactive games, building simple gadgets and experimenting with various sensors,” he shared.  

Sixth and seventh graders participate in a computer science class for part of the school year, learning skills such as setting variables, basic animation and more through programs like Scratch, a visual programming language. Eighth graders attend a full-year computer science class, which started in the 2023-2024 school year, learning more advanced skills and applying them to a variety of projects that test their problem-solving skills. The program will expand to include high schoolers next year. 

“We are massively appreciative for this grant. It’s going to go very far and allow us to take the program to another level next year,” said Lally.  

He shared that computer science teaches students a lot more than technical skills. “Computer science is one of the only subjects where you fail more than you succeed. Sometimes, you’ll run a code 150 times before it works. That’s OK, but it’s challenging.” This repetitive trial and error builds resilience and teamwork, skills that students will take with them no matter where their future leads.