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Using Computer Science to Help the Teaching Community

Annette Haynes is a PLTW Gateway teacher at Shepherd Jr. High School in Mesa, Arizona. Annette earned recognition as Tempe Diablos High Impact Teacher of the Year 2016.

My students have used computer science to solve problems for our teaching community. My students went out and interviewed teachers to see what kind of mobile applications they would like to have developed to use in their classrooms. Students then came back to class and created a backlog and task list to be used when creating their apps.

Students developed the following apps for teachers and students to use during and after class:

  • Apps for culinary teachers/students. Students in my class developed one app to help students convert common cooking measurements during class. Another group developed an app to help streamline the culinary teacher’s experience when making trips to the grocery store for class.
  • Apps for social studies teachers/students. Some of the students in my class are developing apps to be used by the social studies teachers when they teach the U.S. Constitution. One app helps students study the meaning of the Preamble, while the other aids students in their study of the Amendments to the Constitution through a quiz generator.
  • An app for computer teachers/students. One group of students generated an app with material to help students remember what they learned in their computer basics class. The application includes information on how to set margins, set line spacing, and generate documents in Google Docs.
  • An app for science teachers/students. Another app to come out of this class focuses on genetics. Students in a science class can input parental chromosomes, and the application generates the possible combinations of student DNA.
  • An app to aid classroom management. One group developed an application that teachers can use to input student names and then place check marks after the names of any students who need to go to the after-school tutoring program each day.

I have watched my students grow in their programming abilities right along with me. We are learning together that the concepts learned in our programming class can transfer over to all their other classes and aid in future success.

The teachers in our school were pleased with our efforts and look forward to second semester, and the students were excited they developed several different kinds of apps that solve problems in our local community.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.