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Teens mentor younger students in computer science

MADISON – During Computer Science Education Week on Dec. 4-10, Madison teenagers visited elementary schools to mentor the youngsters for “Hour of Code.”

Each year, schools worldwide participate in “Hour of Code.” Teachers encourage students to complete some coding-related activity to introduce them to the ever-changing field of computer science. (code.org)

“Engineering and computer science students from James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools visited several Madison elementary schools to assist the young students with computer learning activities,” John Peck said. Peck is Public Relations Manager for Madison City Schools.

“The older students talked about what they’ve learned from computers and how computers are used in various ways,” Peck said. These teenagers and teachers led the children in fun computer games, designs and other exercises.

At West Madison Elementary School, a session was scheduled for after-school hours with the theme, “Empowering Girls to Code.” Hopefully, this session will motivate girls to enter the field of computer science. Currently, females account for only 15 to 20 percent of professionals working in computer-associated jobs, according to code.org.

Jennifer Rountree, Bob Jones computer science teacher, arranged for a group of Bob Jones students to visit Madison Elementary School for “Empowering Girls to Code,” which was open to students in second through sixth grade.

“Madison elementary had 77 girls stay after school to learn about coding. I think the students from Bob Jones, along with engineering teacher Jessye Gaines, and myself got as much out of it as the girls,” Rountree said after the event.

Officials with code.org encourage schools to schedule events like Hour of Code early in the school year and multiple times throughout the year — not just one special week as an observance.

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