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Genoa combines technology with play to teach computer science

Genoa currently has a replacement technology levy on the May ballot.

GENOA, Ohio — How do teachers keep kids engaged in high concept lessons, like computer coding?

One local teacher has figured out a way to combine computer science with physical activity.

There's a construction zone inside of this third-grade classroom at Genoa Elementary.

With hardhats ready, these students are using math, geometry, and a bit of physical activity to solve their assigned challenges.

These activities are run by Genoa area local school's technology integration specialist Christine Danhoff, who is using these Unruly Splats and programmable robots to introduce these students to coding.

"Computer science is something so important in our world today. And they are taking something instead of just keeping coding out on its own, doing it within math and so many other subjects," Danhoff said.

These activities look more like play than learning, but these exercises help students apply what they've learned in the classroom in a different way.

"The sooner we expose our students to that technology, I think the better off they're going to be for the future," said Serena Parlette, Genoa Elementary third-grade teacher.

Credit: Jon Monk
Genoa uses Unruly Splats to combine physical activity with computer science.

And even though they are still learning in their classroom, these students said they always look forward to a visit from Mrs. Danhoff.

"I was pretty excited because math is like my favorite subject" third-grader Sage Ruiz said.

"I used to like math very much, and it's really fun. So, now it's just made it even funner,"  student Jonah Danhoff said.

Mrs. Danhoff's work isn't just with the elementary students at Genoa. She has lessons and activities to implement and expand on computer science lessons all the way through the high school level.

"That's going to continue all the way through their Middle School and High School career, and maybe they pick a career that has something to do with that too," Danhoff said.

She said that these hands-on STEAM lessons are available to Genoa students directly because of the school district's technology levy, which is up for a replacement vote this May. Voters will decide the fate of a five-year, 0.5-mill replacement levy.

"It would be awesome for us to continue the use of what we have here in the district. And that's part of what that levy is, is to be able to continue to allow the students to have these tools and resources to be able to use in the classroom," Danhoff said.

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