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The Student News Site of Union High School - WA

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Titan Tribune

The Student News Site of Union High School - WA

Titan Tribune

The Computer Lab Club: Setting a Change

The+Computer+Lab+Club%3A+Setting+a+Change
Bianca John

On Monday, February 5th, Computer Lab held its second coding session at Mill Plain Elementary. The club focuses on teaching fifth-grade students how to code through block coding using Code.org lessons. With the last visit in mid-December, the teachers and fifth graders were eager for the club to return. Betsy Schwartz—a fifth-grade teacher at Mill Plain—remarked that she only told her students Computer Lab would be visiting five minutes before they arrived. She said that telling them any earlier would have excited them too much in anticipation of keeping their focus for the day. Throughout the session, the excitement in the room was high as the kids worked through the levels, asking for help and collaborating with each other.

Computer Lab club members were spread between the three fifth-grade classrooms, each class with approximately six student leaders. At the beginning of the lesson, all student leaders introduced themselves and the activity the students would be working on. Using Code.org’s Course 4, the fifth graders learned about many coding blocks, pixels, and angles. The meeting was a fun experience for both the 5th-grade and high school students.

Before each session, the members create a lesson plan and slideshow in preparation. They practice the lessons and master it themselves before going to the school. This process makes lessons digestible and gives these young future coders a head start. Bianca John—the founder of Computer Lab—said that one of the goals of the club is to build interest in coding and computer science. These sessions are a positive way to introduce the fifth graders to computer science and technology. She hopes that many of the students will be passionate enough to take computer science-related courses when they forecast for middle and high school.

Beyond the content covered in the lessons, Computer Lab has had a bigger impact on the students. Schwartz said that having older students teach the fifth graders has been monumental to improving their focus and attention. The students are happily engaged in their work and enjoy learning from high schoolers. Many look up to the club members as role models. Schwartz thinks that it’s awesome seeing older students give back to the younger students, and believes that this will inspire the fifth graders to do the same in the future. The high schoolers have also helped the fifth graders become more confident with public speaking, as they all got to witness the members talking in front of the class—some quieter, some more confident.

Not only does the club help the fifth graders, but it also impacts the club members. Each member gets the opportunity to exercise leadership and teaching skills. Bianca says that the club is for people who find passion in coding and technology and that it’s a fun space for people to hang out and review code, before eventually passing on their knowledge to fifth graders. Computer Lab plans to expand to more elementary schools in the future, as well as try to involve students at the middle school level as well. The club is chill and low commitment, with the elementary school sessions every two to three weeks. The next visit will be to Mill Plain Elementary again on March 4th!

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About the Contributor
Sohini Mukherjee, Reporter
Sohini Mukherjee is a freshman at Union High School. They are in a few different clubs, so you might see them around. They like to spend their free time drawing, listening to music, and talking with friends. Their favorite subjects are math, science, and art. They also adore anything cats or space-related. You’ll mostly find them scrolling through their phone or drawing in their sketchbook.

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