SAN GABRIEL, CA – McKinley Elementary school is expanding its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program to offer coding and robotics lessons for all students in 2017-18.

“The skills students learn through coding and robotics lessons will help them stay ahead of the ever-changing technological curve,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “We’re thrilled to expand our educational programs to ensure students are prepared for the rigors of a technologically-focused professional world.”

McKinley Elementary’s STEM program, which teaches students how to master science curriculum standards and develop college and career skills through hands-on projects, first offered coding and robotics lessons to fourth- and fifth-graders in 2016-17.

Students used the Google CS-First program to learn coding during weekly 30-minute computer lab sessions, then applied those skills in the STEM lab to program EV3 Lego robots and a TinkerCAD 3-D printer to complete assigned challenges.

When classes begin Aug. 21, students in kindergarten through third grade will learn coding basics using Apple’s Swift Playground program and apply those skills to program Lego WeDo 2.0 robots later in the year.

“We have watched our students learn to think critically, to collaborate, and to tackle practical challenges head-on by learning coding and robotics,” McKinley Principal Jim Symonds said. “The skills they are learning now will give them a solid STEM foundation to build upon in middle and high school.”

Washington and Wilson elementary schools are also looking to expand their after-school coding and robotics instruction. Wilson’s after-school coding and robotics program will send a team to compete in a FIRST LEGO League regional tournament this fall.

Washington Principal Ross Perry said the school, which offers after-school coding lessons to third-graders and robotics lessons to fifth-graders, is exploring options to provide coding and robotics during the students’ weekly computer lab time in the future.