The R. Roger Rowe Elementary School added computer science to its rotation wheel of enrichment offerings for all first through fifth grade students this year. The class is a blend of all STEM categories involving science, technology, engineering and math.
“As the needs for data science, artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning grow, we want to provide our elementary students with a vertically aligned computer science curriculum that allows us to set mastery standards by grade level and gives our students the opportunity to be on a learning continuum,” RSF School District Interim Superintendent and K-5 Principal Kim Pinkerton said. “Studying these disciplines gives students computational thinking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are used in non-technology areas as well.”
Rowe teacher Caitlin Rhodes oversees the elementary computer science curriculum and also teaches advanced math to elementary students. Rhodes received training from Code.Org and Apple in developing a curriculum that is designed to build on itself each year and is specific to each grade level. She receives free curricula support from Code.Org and Apple as well.
“Knowing how to approach complex problems, break down the challenges into small pieces and approach logically resolving them are critical skills in all industries,” Rhodes said. “There is excitement for STEAM programming and this leads us down that path with integration with science as well.”
R. Roger Rowe Middle School students continue to choose from many elective options in the STEM area such as Adobe Suite, app design and coding, CAD (computer-aided design), rocketry and Rowe’s award-winning robotics program.
Last year, Rowe’s FTC Robotics team, Singularity, was one of a very few middle school teams to earn a spot at the FTC World Championships in Houston, Texas. Another Rowe FTC team, Intergalactic Dragons, won a gold medal at the inaugural California State Games.