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June 18, 2013 > Programming fun at Mattos

Programming fun at Mattos

Submitted By Richard Newcomb

Fifty students, accompanied by their parents, attended the first Scratch Programming Night at Mattos Elementary School on May 10. Scratch is a free tool provided by M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) designed to introduce elementary school students to the basic principles of programming. It allows young programmers to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, and other projects.

The event kicked off at 7 p.m. in the school's multi-purpose room, with a presentation by professional game programmer and Mattos parent, Aaron Cammarata. Students paid attention as Mr. Cammarata introduced basic programming principles and demonstrated how to build simple games with Scratch.

After seeing what Scratch was capable of, students were ready to move on to the most enjoyable part of the evening - building their own projects! Using laptops brought by members of the Mattos Science Committee and some of the school's laptops, ideas introduced by Mr. Cammarata were quickly put into practice. Soon the room was filled with excited chatter.

The event was scheduled to end at 8 p.m., but everyone was having so much fun, and working on so many fascinating projects, that the time limit was extended. Comments were overheard in the room such as, "Very cool" and "I like it!" A fifth-graders said, "I thought it would be boring, but it was really inspiring!"

A second grader's parent exclaimed, "Scratch Night was awesome! The highlight of the night was seeing the excitement on the kids' faces as they were testing it out for themselves afterwards." The school's principal, Ms. Tammy Eglinton, was also very pleased with the event and added, "It was fabulous! It was a great turnout!"

Mattos Elementary School is the only school in the Fremont Unified School District with a Science Magnet Program called "Soaring into Science." Mattos has a dedicated science teacher, a science lab for grades 1 - 6 and at least three science-related events per year for its students and families. To learn more about the school and its science program, visit: http://www.fremont.k12.ca.us/Domain/1173.

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