MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Mahopac Middle School students are learning their science curriculum and computer coding all in one class. Technology and science teacher Victoria Lew is teaching sixth graders the layers of the atmosphere by having them create projects using an interactive program known as Scratch, where students learn to code their own animation.

“The projects the students are doing with Scratch really give them a good introduction to coding,” Lew said.

Scratch coding is done in blocks, which makes it simpler for students to use, as opposed to creating lines of code. It provides a solid introduction into basic coding.

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Students were instructed to work in pairs to create a Scratch animation of the four layers of the atmosphere.

 “They were given wide parameters, so they could be as creative as possible,” Lew said. “Students worked with animation ‘sprites,’ cartoon figures that they work into their projects.”

Sixth graders Jonathan Shkoza and German Ventura enjoyed working together on their project.

“It’s fun to use the program using whatever is on your mind or in your imagination,” Shkoza said.

The two programmed the shark to open his mouth so it looks like he’s talking about the layers of atmosphere.

“It was great that we could really be creative with our characters,” added sixth-grader Jack Edwards.

The technology part was easy for students, most of whom are aficionados of everything computer-related.

“We gave them a day to figure out and explore the program,” Lew said. “They really took it from there and did an outstanding job.”

Article provided by Mahopac Central School District