Code2Create Hackathon boosts involvement, participation in STEM
December 15, 2021 – On a Thursday evening, the Lancaster Middle School cafeteria was transformed into a showcase for the inaugural Code2Create Hackathon Challenge. Coding projects, big and small, lined the tables. Students created everything from cardboard guitars and board games to alarm systems and music-playing robots. They were on display for event judges and the community to interact with and experience. The excitement was apparent as teammates hurriedly talked over one another, eager to explain how their project worked to the audience at their table.
“We’re taking Lancaster STEAM education to new heights, and our goal is to create events that expose our students to all aspects of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” said STEM Lead and Secondary Math Content Coordinator LaTasha Murry.
Elementary and middle school students were split into teams and challenged with creating a coding project using a micro:bit. The projects teach students how software and hardware work together.
Third-grader Caiden Patterson and his team from Rosa Parks/Millbrook Elementary School used their micro:bit project to create a step counter.
“I liked how we came together and worked as a team to make the step counter. We had to work together to get it to work correctly. I’m ready for another challenge,” said Patterson.
The Code2Create Hackathon generated exposure to coding and helped the students develop critical thinking skills as they tested their projects through trial and error.
Lancaster ISD Blended Learning Coordinator, Kristina Petty, was essential in bringing the first-ever Hackathon Challenge to the district.
“It’s important for students to get excited about doing something new,” said Petty. “We targeted the elementary and middle school students to boost exposure to coding and help develop a pathway for high school.”
As students progress to higher grades in Lancaster ISD, they can choose elective classes that teach coding and other STEAM subjects. In addition, the Code2Create Hackathon introduced an opportunity for younger students to develop and grow their interest in coding.
Events focusing on STEM education are in the works within the district. Next semester’s STEM Expo for Lancaster High School will include a competition challenge.
Following the success of the hackathon challenge, Lancaster ISD aims to host several challenges each year.