Sept. 17 middle school coding event now open for registration

Students in grades 6-8 who want an introduction to the world of computer coding can now register for NIU STEAM Works’ first-ever Middle School Coding and Technology Event.

PDS-HackThis event, which is open to students in grades 6-8 from DeKalb, Huntley, St. Charles, Sycamore, and Kaneland district schools, plus Cambridge Lakes Charter school, will take place Saturday, September 17, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Harter Middle School, located at 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove. Registration is required and costs $20. Participation will be capped at 50 students. Students can register at tinyurl.com/pdsCode16.

In the morning, participants will get an overview of computer coding’s many contemporary applications and learn about the collaborative spirit that is required for the success of real-world technology projects.

Students must bring their own computers, but no coding experience is needed. “This day isn’t about diving into the technology deep end,” says Tracy Rogers-Tryba at NIU STEAM Works. “It’s about showing them how many uses coding has and how coding can be a vehicle for their interests or passions.”

In the afternoon, students will explore the relevance of computer code to the upcoming presidential election. Working in teams, they will brainstorm their own ideas for tech projects that could play a part in the election, whether by informing citizens on a given issue or by encouraging them to register and vote. 

“Everyone knows that the election is a big deal,” says Rogers-Tryba. “Showing how code can play a role is a powerful way to get kids excited about technology’s power.”

For middle schoolers who might be interested in coding, this event will be a casual introduction to coding in advance of this year’s  Huskie Hack (Nov 5-6), an annual coding event that is attended by hundreds of students of all ages from all over Northern Illinois. “Huskie Hack is a blast,” says Rogers-Tryba. “But younger students might be intimidated by older participants’ experience. This event makes it easy for them to ease into the field at their own pace.” 

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/pdsCode16 or contact Tracy Rogers-Tryba by email tlrogers@niu.edu or phone 779-777-7724.

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