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Robotics, Coding and Computational Thinking Program Ramps Up at Three Elementary Schools

Representatives of the Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) were honored to receive a generous donation of $10,000 from the Space Center Rotary Club at their monthly meeting on Monday, November 29, 2021.

The donation is in support of the Robotics, Coding and Computational Thinking (RCC) Program which is currently being piloted at Bauerschlag, League City and Ward elementary schools.

With the vision of “Preparing students today for difference making tomorrow,” the program is in the pre-launch year readying for a full rollout for the 2022-2023 school year. After several years of program implementation, all 27 CCISD elementary schools will eventually fold in select components of RCC into their curriculum. A similar instructional model has been successfully implemented through the District’s E-STEM magnet schools, Ed White and Hall elementary schools. For instance, every elementary school now features engineering curriculum and projects born from the work being done at the E-STEM schools. 

“We are so appreciative of the funds that the Education Foundation and rotary club have contributed in support of the work that we are doing through the Robotics, Coding and Computational Thinking Program,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eric Williams. “This work is aligned with our core mission. We want students to go beyond low-level thinking, like recalling facts, but rather to apply those facts into solving more complex problems. And this program engages students in robotics, coding and computational thinking as they develop and demonstrate understanding of key content and concepts from math, science, reading, writing and social studies,” Williams said.

Robotics will be taught using the VEX Robot system, where coding is an integral part of controlling these systems. The coding work is aligned to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and CCISD curriculum. Students will use Scratch programming, software developed by MIT, to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Minecraft EDU will be one of the tools used to teach the computational thinking portion. 

“Minecraft is more than just a gaming software,” said Dr. Laura Mackay, RCC Program Manager. “It can be used to engage students in learning about surface area and perimeter, bring to life the setting in narrative writing, and enrich learning about life cycles in science,” she said. 

The Clear Creek Education Foundation (CCEF) was the first to make a substantial commitment to fund the launch of the RCC program earlier this year. CCEF has pledged to raise the remainder of the funding required for full program implementation through donations from community partners like the Space Center Rotary Club. 

“The Rotary Club of Space Center felt this new project, dedicated to 'inspiring and promoting innovative thinking' in our elementary schools, was a worthy investment,” said Space Center Rotary Club President Stan Galanski. “Our society is changing within a single generation these days, and technology is advancing exponentially, so it is necessary we provide our children the tools to keep pace with these dynamics, while showing a peaceful understanding and respect to their fellow students, colleagues and workers in their lives,” said Galanski. 

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