Sixth-graders at Rye Neck Middle School have been participating in coding and computer programming activities throughout the month of December. As part of their Research Tech classes with Linda Costelloe, library media specialist at the school, as well as an after-school Coding Club, the students are able to work collaboratively with their peers on a variety of coding challenges.

“We’ve been able to extend what was previously just an ‘Hour of Code’ into a month of code,” Costelloe said. “This has allowed all of us to go into so much more depth on a single aspect of coding and gain experience in multiple areas. The students are engaged, working through programming challenges collaboratively, and willing to help one another debug when things don’t go quite right. It’s an incredibly inspiring environment for all of us.”

In addition, all middle school students were invited to participate in the international Hour of Code celebration on Dec. 4. The event, a popular feature of Computer Science Education Week that nurtures students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, challenged the students to complete myriad coding exercises. During the learning experience, three Rye Neck High School students –Felix Delcourt, Kevin Tamucci and Joey Tenner – assisted the younger students and shared their backgrounds in coding and robotics. 

While the Hour of Code activities are different from the regular curriculum, they enable students to make connections and explore similar concepts to what they’re studying in their classes. For the first time this year, middle school students are taking part in the Scratch Passport Challenge, which tasks them with working through various programming scenarios to win prizes and expand their knowledge of the Scratch programming language. 

“Working their way through each of the 12 challenges exposes them to many different facets of coding,” Costelloe said. “It’s fun, collaborative and the students genuinely love moving through the challenge. The energy surrounding it has been incredible.”