Alice elementary students learn computer science skills

Posted at 6:36 AM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 11:06:36-05

ALICE, TEXAS — “Statistics show that more than 50 percent of jobs are geared towards computer science.

"So it's gonna help these students in their future endevors get a job. ” Saenz Elementary School fourth grade teacher Ricardo Contreras Jr. said.

Saenz is one of the many schools within the Alice Independent School District that has implemented the program ‘Code To The Future.’

The program provides several cycles in its curriculum.

Cycle 1 involves the introduction of computer science through software called "Scratch," where they learn how to code on a computer.

Cycle 2 then shows the students how to take coding from the computer and implement it to Lego robots hardware.

“The things they enter into the computer, this is how it communicates to the hardware and they can actually see what it will do,” Contreras said.

Contreras’ class has evolved into mini-engineers as they learn about coding.

Showing the types of maneuvers and activities their robots can do. 9-year-old Zacharius Sanchez explains his programming for the robots.

“We’re making a score and making degree angles,” he said.

Or, making their robots drive in the shape of a square.

Sanchez says learning this program has made him realize he wants to build cars as he gets older.

“When I grow up I want to be an engineer, so I could probably put my mind back into elementary and start welding stuff,” he said.

It's a profession he didn’t consider until he began using this program.

Code To the Future is a program implemented in schools across the nation.

The programming software used to learn coding, Scratch, can be found online for free.

Contreras says it’s an easy program for students and adults to learn at home or in other school districts.

Although the programs can be simple, students learn troubleshooting and problem solving skills.

“It also teaches me that not everything can go off smoothly” Grace’n Olivarez said.

Olivarez says getting the robots to follow orders is not always easy.

But when it finally does what it's supposed to do ...

"Seeing it move and that sense of satisfactory, when you try and try and it finally works,” Olivarez said.

Contreras says the program is preparing these students for any jobs in the future.

From becoming a pharmacist, doctor, engineer or “to become a mechanic, like a mechanic to build stuff,” Khloe Villarreal said.

Code To the Future has already inspired and motivated the students at Alice ISD after six months.

“Everybody’s going towards computer science.” Contreras said, “You have to have some form of computer literacy in order to complete your job now.”