Our children are our future. And to spark the interest of these children in a future career in computer science, staff from Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) Division recently visited eleven schools in the Chicago area as part of the annual Hour of Code event.
Hour of Code is a global event to spark students’ interest in coding and computer science by spending an hour on coding games and activities. For this year’s event, eight of the MCS division’s graduate students, computer scientists, computational scientists and mathematicians, and software developers and engineers and spent an hour or more introducing students to the diverse research at Argonne, presenting talks and demos of their work, and conducting hands-on activities with students and teachers.
For example, MCS staff spoke with students from second grade to sixth grade on the various activities that can be done by learning to code; talked to a high school computer science class about being a programmer; supervised students as they coded an animated google logo; conducted a question-and-answer session about what is meant by “big data” and supercomputers; gave examples to junior high school students about applications ranging from cancer, reactors, and smart cities to show why coding is important; discussed with elementary school students how advances in mathematical methods and sensing hardware are enabling new applications in computational imaging; and gave a whole-school lecture to approximately 200 junior high school students and then talked with individual groups as they worked on coding games and puzzle .
Through these efforts, MCS researchers hope to show students the many different areas in which coding is involved and the excitement that can come from a career in computer science.
For more information on this event, see http://www.anl.gov/article/power-hour