College coding class draws a crowd

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By Kelsie McCrae

Blue Ridge Middle School is leading the way in computer science for the rest of Loudoun County’s middle school students.

With the introduction of Coding 7, teacher Cynthia Brady and principal Brion Bell have created an environment where students can indulge their creative side while developing a deeper understanding of math and computer science.

While several other colleges in Loudoun County have incorporated coding into the grade six keyboarding program, Blue Ridge is the only one offering a one-year course for its students. The class was introduced to seventh-graders last year as part of a two-year pilot program.

Principal Brion Bell recognized the school’s leadership in offering coding courses to its students. “We wouldn’t be able to do that if the students hadn’t shown interest,” he said. “Since this is an elective course, we had to consider which courses the students would like to take. For example, if more students wanted to learn Spanish, we would have to hire another Spanish teacher instead. “

But 75 students chose to enroll in coding.

The seventh graders had the chance to present their work from the school year at an open house on Friday.

Jessica Nappi spoke about the programs she worked on throughout the course.

“We’re given a column, but we’re allowed to create whatever we want,” Jessica said. She spent several weeks developing an interactive Hogwarts maze game, an expression of her love for the Harry Potter series.

“I took a photo from the web, but everything else I created on my own,” she said.

His classmate Avery Keller also created digital artwork to use in the creation of his maze-style game. “I wanted to use all my skills to do something right,” she said. She also shared her personal Scratch account, which she uses to do home entertainment.

Seventh grade student William Noble McCann created a 3D game of Frogger using a program called AgentCubes. “Ms. Brady purchased the downloadable version of AgentCubes for us so we didn’t have to worry about the website crashing,” he said. “As we are the last lesson of the day, everyone comes home and starts coding. ”

After the implementation of the Coding 7 course in the rest of the colleges in Loudoun, Bell hopes to see consecutive courses so that students can continue to develop their coding. This would prepare them to embark on optional computer science courses in high school.

Kelsie McCrae is a summer intern at Loudoun Now. She is studying English Literature, Leadership Studies and Business Administration at Christopher Newport University.

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