Port Allen students learn to code to make interactive games for 1st graders

Port Allen Middle School 7th grader Christian McMillian is testing out his ABC games on 1st graders.
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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PORT ALLEN, La. (WAFB) - Port Allen Middle School 7th grader Christian McMillian is testing out his ABC games on 1st graders.

“Little kids like elementary kids, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten, they love stories. So, we thought it would be a good idea to add a story to the game,” explains Christian. The goal is to make the 1st graders stomp on the splats singing their ABCs, Christian created this game all through coding. “So, we actually use the unruly splats app, which allows you to make code for programs, you can make your own game. The types of games were the minion game, it turns purple and you have to make it yellow. We had the ABC game and little red robin,” says Christian.

Christian and his class really dove in head first, programming games that would motivate the 1st graders and stay active during P.E. “So, the middle schoolers are the ones that are creatin the coding and the games, while our students can look and say ‘I might want to do that one day.’ Then looking at it, this is actually the beginning of if you wat to work in the technological field,” explains Alana Simoneaux who is the P.E. coach for the 1st graders at Port Allen Elementary.

Teachers say teaching kids how to code early on will hopefully lead them to future careers. The students also learned other skill sets like working together and what it’s like working on a specific project to benefit others. “With such a huge advancement in technology, that’s where the future is, and these kids love technology. So, why not give them control over it, and give them the ability to make the improvements,” says Tasha Robichaux who teaches the students programming.

After this trail run, Christian is already thinking of his next game to code. “I was thinking we could make a game for like a birthday cake. Maybe, we could label the splat with a type of ingredient that they would need to make a cake,” adds Christian.

Students from Port Allen Middle and Elementary Schools came out first in a nationwide coding competition. The 7th graders won the competition for their coding and the 1st graders also won top honors for how long they took part.

Some of the teachers tell WAFB that this model could be implemented in some of the other schools in the district.

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