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Fifth Graders Burn Calories in Computer Science Class

Dawes Elementary School student wearing a micro:bit coded to count steps

A Dawes Elementary student wears a wristband with a micro:bit coded by fifth graders to count steps.

Credit: Hillary Linden / Dawes Elementary

Fifth graders at Dawes Elementary School north of Chicago are taking computer science out of the lab — and into the gym. A collaboration between Northwestern University and Dawes' District 65 has made the students beta testers for a hands-on learning curriculum that has them coding wearable devices to track steps and laps.

"It's the first time I started to sweat in a computer class," said Marcelo Worsley, a Northwestern Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Computer Science, describing the active digital learning at Dawes this year.

Worsley, the parent of two District 65 students, initiated the collaboration as part of a U.S. National Science Foundation research grant awarded to a Northwestern's Technology Innovations for Inclusive Learning and Teaching research laboratory.

Two classes of Dawes fifth graders are following the curriculum. Students have the opportunity to code a wearable micro:bit device that has the capacity to detect motion, direction, and more.

From Evanston RoundTable
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