CS Education Week 2019

The obvious question might be: how does a STEM high school celebrate #CSEDWeek2019? At Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, WA, we have a full pathway for students to take Computer Science courses. We teach Computer Science (CS) where all freshman take AP CS Principles and most take AP Java, and Data Structures as sophomores, juniors and seniors. CS Education might seem redundant and our CS teachers will tease: “every week is CS Education week”. However, CS Education Week has meant a way for our students to do outreach in our community as subject matter experts. Student leaders develop content for elementary and middle school students. Sometimes we have used @Code.org content, but we have also delivered integrated content that teaches CS concepts and computational thinking with a variety of tools that we have practiced.

With goals of bringing more people to CS education, we redefine #CSEDWeek to fit our community and interpret it according to some of the goals we have for computer science and computational thinking. This movement is a personal one for me: #CSforAll, but happily our students embrace this ideal as well. We decided to try something new: we hosted 4 different events at our high school for distinct audiences. Students developed content for #maker education and @makeymakey controllers, @playcraftlearn and #codebuilder. Another group led an all day engineering workshop on Saturday for girls with super challenges and lots of problem solving activities.

One other event: we hosted our custodians to learn about @micro:bit. This event was probably the highlight of my year because it meant a lot to have our custodians participate in CS Education Week and be a part of this event:

Maker leaders
our makers

Each of these events was something special for the student mentors. Students learned though designing content and gained experience in working as CS leaders. Our sophomore team used CS concepts in @Scratch to build a controller game. The attendees then designed their own controller from conductive materials. This event was so popular we had to host a second night.

My freshman had an opportunity to be leaders and to even train new students in Computer Science; participants learned how to use #CodeBuilder and have their agent build in Minecraft Education Edition.

four leaders of Minecraft Education Edition
Students and mentor in front of computers

Each day of our week focused on themes that were designed around student mentor interests and areas where they implemented these concepts for a new audience. We gained so much from this experience as mentors and #CSEdWeek2019 becomes another milestone as we look to challenges for next year. What will #CSEdWeek2020 look like? These are the leaders who will be a part of redefining that week.

This is a wrap-up of a successful community outreach week of CS activities, and a preview to see what we will do at Tesla STEM High School in 2020. But this is also an open invitation to help you replicate this kind of leadership in your own community. It is part of my doctoral work and a passion of mine. Use the reply function in this blog or contact me via direct message at Twitter (@wrenchey) or WordPress.

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