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Metro Tech STEM Academy Coding Camp Wraps Up First Week

OKC Middle School Students Gain Exposure to Computer Science Industry

OKLAHOMA CITY – Metro Technology Centers’ STEM Academy Computer Science Program successfully completed the first week of Coding Camp for 6th-8th grade students on Friday. Computer Science Academy Teachers, Tiffani Veal and Brian Leaver, with help from Assistant Superintendent, David Martin, created, fundraised and planned Coding Camp with hopes to expose the computer science industry, Metro Technology Centers and Metro Techs’ Computer Science Program to the middle school students as they begin to explore career interests.

Veal said that along with a fun introduction to the many opportunities at Metro Technology Centers, she also wanted to teach the 16 students who were in attendance that there’s more to coding than meets the eye. “I really wanted to focus on coding without computers,” Veal said. “My goal was to show them that computer science can be more than just sitting at a computer, and my number one priority with this camp has been, and will be, to expose the students to the different pathways of computer science.”

The four-day camp was sponsored by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, OG+E and AT&T. On Tuesday, the students learned TI Basic on TI-Nspire graphing calculators. As the week continued, the students were split up into groups, and learned how the calculator can be connected to a TI-Innovator Hub which is then attached to control a small rover. Each group received one TI-Nspire, one TI-Innovator Hub and one rover. By breaking up into groups, the students learned how to work together to program the TI-Nspire to make the rovers drive on their own, with only the code to control them. On Friday, “Challenge Day,” the groups designed individual mazes on the classroom’s floor by using tape, and then programed the calculators to finish the maze. After the break, the groups were challenged to complete each other’s mazes.

Seventh Grade Student at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School, Taylor Grigsby, said that he was surprised and enlightened by what he learned during the week. “One of my favorite things about the week was learning that you can actually do coding on a calculator,” Grigsby said. “Which, I thought was kind of weird at first, but it was really fun. Getting the rover to move and solve a maze was so gratifying when we finally figured it out. One thing you could learn by doing this is that nothing ever works on your first try.”

Veal says that the Computer Science Program team at STEM Academy has high hopes for the future of Coding Camp. “I hope we can continue it, and I would love to see it grow,” Veal said. “I hope next year we can incorporate more robotics, to expose the students to the building side of computer science. I have loved getting to watch these students be creative, figure out things on their own and see them be excited to share that with others.”

Veal is gearing up for this week’s new group of campers, incoming Juniors, who will be studying in the Metro Technology Centers’ STEM Academy Computer Science Program in the Fall.

  • Press Release

Metro Technology Centers
One of the largest and most diverse technology centers in Oklahoma, Metro Tech has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma City, Northeast Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Airport and Downtown Oklahoma City.

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