Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Office of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education recently hosted the 1st Annual Code-a-Thon at the Lonnie Johnson Research and Development Center. Over 150 APS middle and high school engineering students participated in this engaging, exciting and STEM-related event.
The event was facilitated by Captain Barrington Irving, Executive Director of Flying Classroom, an organization that provides unique engineering and STEM experiences for students around the country. Captain Barrington Irving, the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world, shared his incredible story with our students and encouraged them to seek careers in STEM-related fields particularly aviation. Additionally, Lonnie Johnson, engineer and inventor of the Super Soaker, was present and shared with students his experiences and successes, as he celebrates 50 years in robotics. Both Captain Barrington Irving and Lonnie Johnson are leading African-Americans practitioners in the field science.
The Code-a-Thon exposed students to the basics of robotics, coding, and computer programming. In partnership with APS, the 100 Robotics Alliance, a robotics team sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, assisted with the activities for the day. “I am thrilled to see our students engaged in coding and programming activities which lead to high demand career choices; however, I am most excited about the increased number of females students engaged in and excited about coding and programming. It is this type of exposure and experiences coupled with great partnerships that will prepare our students for workforce demands of the 21st century, said Dr. Michael Maze, Director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education.
As a culminating activity, students competed in a timed obstacle course challenge using SPRK+ robot by Sphero. Students from BEST Academy placed 1st, Douglass 2nd and Grady 3rd.