Wiesbaden students learn computer programming at summer camp
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 10, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany — Thirty-two middle and high schoolers from the Wiesbaden area are foregoing the usual summer camp staples of rope swings and hikes for soldering circuit boards and programming small computers at a weeklong day camp at Wiesbaden High School.
The camp, running from Aug. 7-11, is the first of two planned by high school science teacher Frank Pendzich, who is looking to “plant a seed” of interest in the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and math — in young students. Another camp, to be held the following week, will teach 48 campers the basics of robotic technology.
“The entire planet is influenced by computers and technology, and we find that a lot of our students in high school are losing interest in computer coding and programming,” Pendzich said. “(Here) we try to give them a rewarding experience that can be fun to show what computers can do.”
Following introductions and explanations, students at the programming camp dove in to learning about circuits and circuit boards, working with small kits in a hands-on fashion, even learning how to manually solder circuit boards with specialized equipment. Additionally, campers are building Raspberry Pi learning computers — small, inexpensive computers designed to teach basic computer science — to enhance their understanding of computing. An open house, allowing for campers to showcase their achievements for parents and interested community members will be held at 10:15 on Friday.
Assisting Pendzich are some current and former members of the Wiesbaden RoboWarriors robotics club, who say that students attending these camps have an edge on their contemporaries.
“There’s definitely skills you need to know down the road, so this gives them a leg up,” Parker Crumbly, a 2017 graduate of Wiesbaden who will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design this fall. “I like it, the kids are good, most of them are optimistic, hopeful and getting them interested now will help them down the road.”
Joy Scofield, left, and Evan McKenzie study the instruction manual for a Raspberry Pi learning computer, which they are assembling, during a summer day camp for students interested in computer programming, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 at Wiesbaden High School in Wiesbaden, Germany.
DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES