Jeffco Ed Tech welcomes Guest Bloggers: Janna Golgart and Doug Starkey, from Dunstan Middle School.
At Dunstan Middle School, the computer science department is composed of Janna Golgart and Doug Starkey. Together these two teachers cover a very wide range of computer science material in order to prepare students for high school and beyond.
In Janna Golgart’s Computer Science courses students begin by learning the basics of encryption, decryption, using cyphers, as well as learning the basics of binary. From there students progress to block based programming and then on to Python text language. CodeCombat is a wonderful resource for Janna's students to begin Python with, and then advance to CodeHS. CodeHS reinforces and is more challenging which strengthens students’ Python skills. Ms. Golgart's Computer Science course also gives students the opportunity to explore robotics using Spheros. Students learn how to program the Sphero, then create a maze and program the robots to complete the maze. In addition, students learn about physical computing using Raspberry Pi’s and create circuits. This class gives students a strong foundation of computer science.
Video Game Design
In Mrs. Golgart’s Video Design course, students learn the basics of video game design programming and graphic design. Students then use several different software applications such as GameMaker, Scratch, Agentsheets, and Agentcubes to apply their programming and graphic design skills, seeing how the concepts and execution transfer from program to program. In addition, students learn and create animations which is a key part of video game design. Animator and GameMaker are both used to create these animations. This course provides students the opportunity to display their creativity.
Mr. Starkey also has a separate Robotics course, in which students alternate between an online robotic simulator, Microbit robots, and Lego EV3 robots. The online simulator is through RobomindAcademy.com. This site introduces students to the basics of robotics through script based programming. The Microbit unit combines Makerspace with programming. Students are given the opportunity to create a cardboard robot combining Microbit motors & control boards, then programming the robots to participate in a drag race against other students. The Microbit robots provide a great resource for students to learn different block based programming as well as put some creativity into their robots. The majority of the class, however, is based around the Lego EV3 robots. Students begin with basic movements, then progress to the different sensors available. Students program the EV3 with block code and use the EV3s to complete several different types of obstacle courses.
Mrs. Golgart and Mr. Starkey have also participated in several industry related field trips and guest speakers. These include a trip to the Boulder Google campus & Dire Wolf Digital as well as guest speakers from Colorado School Mines, CodeHS, and Amazon Web Services. Janna Golgart and Doug Starkey have dedicated a lot of time and effort into making a strong and respected Computer Science program at Dunstan Middle School.
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