Google Visit Provides Computer Science Lessons to Local Students


KATY (Covering Katy News)—Students at Beck Junior High School, 5200 S. Fry Road, learned Friday how to code thanks to a Google-sponsored program.

CS First is a program designed to help with computer science education. It introduces students to coding. Students use a program, called Scratch, to solve problems by using computer codes.

Friday’s hour-long exercise focused on storytelling. The story involved a boat in the water. In a lesson led by Google representatives, students used the Scratch code to decide who was in the boat, the type of boat, the sea conditions, and what the characters said to each other.

Students were engaged as they used Google-supplied laptops to make these choices and insert the code lines into the story program.

Other CS First exercises, all of which are theme-based, include animation, art, fashion, friends, game design, music and sound, social media, and sports. Exercises are varying degrees of difficulty.

“Our students were engaged and impressive with how quickly they understood processes,” said school board member Rebecca Fox on Facebook, following one of the Google sessions on Friday.

In this way, students are introduced to coding, and how they might use it to solve problems. They can perform these exercises individually, or they can join or form their own CS First group. According to the CS First web site, over a million students are enrolled in CS First Groups in more than 70 countries.

At Friday’s session, students watched videos with interviews showing how one group of students used coding to clean up their neighborhood. Another video featured artists who use coding to create animated movies, among other things. One example shown was Pixar Animation Studios, makers of such movies as Toy Story, which the students immediately recognized.

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, was scheduled to participate in the event but was unable to attend. He sent a video message instead in which he encouraged students and briefly described the computer technology he first learned to use and how things have advanced since then.

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