Coding students bring designs to life | News, Sports, Jobs

Contributed CREATING – Seventh-and eighth-graders are learning how to write computer codes and create digital models on 3-D printers at Buckeye Local Jr. High School, giving them advantages with high-tech tools to prepare for 21st Century careers. Eighth-grader Chase Milton shows a few of the items students have created with MakerBot Sketch 3-D printers in class.

CONNORVILLE – Buckeye Local Jr. High School students are putting their coding skills to use and bringing designs to life with some modern technology.

Tech teacher Kathy Yocum instructs a nine-week programming course and alternates eighth-graders during the first and third nine weeks and seventh-graders during the second and fourth nine weeks. The upperclassmen wrapped up their sessions on March 18 with the younger students starting anew the following Monday, and Yocum said the schoolwork offers a real hands-on approach to learning.

“We did programming, or coding, and algorithms, sequencing, conditionals, loops and variables,” she explained, adding that she manages to keep students engaged through interactive lessons. “They enjoy more hands-on activities. I wanted to get more into circuitry because there are some really cool projects we could do. ”

Students use what is known as block code and write programs in various tech languages ​​including Python. They are then able to create unique projects such as operating tealights with circuitry and turn designs into objects with 3-D printers. Yocum previously earned a grant to acquire one printer in 2018 and used career technical funds to procure two more MakerBot Sketch units this past January for further computer-aided design. The high-tech hardware uses plastic thread melted to 220 degrees Celsius to create a digital model through what is known as the additive process. The hot plastic is squeezed out in layers within a matter of hours to form figures designed by students, but other materials can be used professionally including ceramic, glass, metal and even biological materials. Yocum said CAD affords endless opportunities to make the world a better place.

“They can print houses and bridges,” she continued, saying biomedical researchers are also looking at ways to rebuild bone. “It goes into medicine and there are a lot of different areas. I’m trying to get students to see the possibilities that are available. There is so much more we can do. ”

For now, her classes are beginning to understand the many potential uses and how they can create on their own.

“They can learn about exporting it out of the class program in a format the printer can understand. They are also practicing how to attach them to emails. I try to bring in skills they need to know in the future if they get into a career using this. ”

Their classroom practice has yielded three-dimensional shapes including snake toys, names and the school logo from the printers, and Yocum said the classes have completed an estimated 60 projects. She gains ideas from YouTube and the CAD program they use in class, as well as one from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Some of her students have chalked it up as a fun learning experience.

Eighth-grader Autumn Shaughnessy said her favorite part of the class was having Yocum as her teacher.

“The teacher is because she works with you through things and helps with the 3-D coding,” added classmate Emily Edwards.

Fellow pupil Clayton Williams is eyeing a possible vocation in his future.

“I want to build computers,” he said.

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