School District No. 43 (Coquitlam)’s talented middle school students put on a show at the first-ever Middle School Sphero Challenge Day held on Thursday, May 25 at Winslow Centre.
All 14 middle schools in the district were represented at the event by over 90 students and teachers. Each schools’ teams were put through a series of challenges in order to demonstrate their critical thinking, coding ability and showmanship.
“It’s a different way to show school spirit in their school while, at the same time, exploring the new ADST [Applied Design, Skills and Technologies] curriculum in the area of computational thinking and coding,“ said Dave Sands, SD43’s Principal of Technology Implementation, who was the lead organizer of the event. “It’s an amazing opportunity for students to meet other students from other middle schools who share the same interests and to exercise some incredible critical thinking and problem solving skills.”
“Kids coming in at middle school and using the Sphero and learning about coding really inspires them,” said Kwayhquitlum Middle teacher Greg Skerratt. “It challenges them. They’re doing things that they normally wouldn’t do. You see a lot of creative and critical thinking.”
Student teams were challenged in three events – Innovative/Creative Presentation, Sphero Maze, and Sphero Critical Challenge – with a panel of judges including SD43 Trustee Barb Hobson, SD43 Assistant Superintendent Carey Chute, and representatives from Finger Food Studios on hand to witness the tremendous work of the students.
Also in attendance at the event were SD43 Superintendent Patricia Gartland, who kicked off the event with an inspirational speech in the morning to the students, SD43 Board Chair Kerri Palmer Isaak and Vice Chair Carol Cahoon, who handed out prizes to the top finishing schools, as well as fellow trustee Michael Thomas, the latter who is a noted computer and IT specialist.
“I think this event is a great opportunity for our students to come together and experience 21st technology at its best,” said Thomas. “We have technology. We have collaboration. We have everything that students are working towards all in one place.
The top five finishers received a Star Wars BB-8 Droid Sphero for their school, in addition to additional Sphero units depending on their overall finish.
1. Kwayhquitlum Middle
2. Citadel Middle
3. Scott Creek Middle
4. Pitt River Middle
5. Maple Creek Middle
Congratulations to all students for their participation and for showing their enthusiasm, creativity and innovation at the event.