Brown Students Shine at Statewide Coding Competition
Last week students at Brown Intermediate School proved age is just a number when it comes to coding competitions. Students as young as fifth grade from Brown faced off against high school students at the statewide Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC) and once all the points were tallied, two students finished in the top five out of thousands of participants.
The six competitors - Nathan Boyd (a Polson Middle School student), Griffin Brodie, Caleb Rosenthal, Lucas Felberbaum, James Boyd, and Tommy Corwin – are members of the Brown Intermediate Coding Club. Brown teacher Gay Tomasevich leads the club and said she is excited to see how much students are learning.
“I used to teach math and science and I got really excited about coding because coding is applied math and the kids don’t even know it and they have a great time,” she said.
The club is wildly popular with a total of 46 students participating. The team is ranked fourth in the state of Connecticut – a statistic that is even more impressive considering most fifth grade students have had only a limited introduction to coding prior to this year. Tomasevich said she offers some instruction on the basics of coding but that students really just pick up the information and run with it.
“What the kids do is they learn how to code robots, to make robots do different things so they learn how to control what the robot does, how it moves, they learn about different sensors like a gyroscopic sensor that tells you how far its turning,” she said. “In that process they are using positive and negative integers, they are using inequalities with positive and negative numbers – these are pre-algebra and algebra skills that my fifth graders are applying and they are doing really well.”
For the recent CRCC competition, six students were selected to compete through an in-school qualifying competition. Tomasevich said she wished she could have taken all students in the club to the competition because all students have worked very hard.
“I am so impressed with their perseverance, persistence, their willingness to work together and their willingness to teach others,” she said.
At the competition, Nathan Boyd and Griffin Brodie finished in the top five, but Tomasevich said she was most impressed by her students willingness to support one another even in the midst of competition.
“The most important thing is that all 6 students represented Madison Public Schools well in their effort, sportsmanship, and teamwork,” she said. “I was really proud of all the kids!”