Recently, Rocketeer Greg Flory visited a Heritage Elementary School fifth-grade math and science class to kick off an Hour of Code session with its students. Hour of Code, a STEAM program where students receive a one-hour coding session to introduce them to various coding languages or build their computer science skills, is something Greg had done two times before and decided to extend the opportunity to fellow Rocketeer Michael Griffith.
Griffith started the assembly by showing the students how they can use tools like mind mapping, a chart that visually represents the flow of ideas, and other brainstorming methods to develop an idea before they start coding. At Bottle Rocket, our approach to projects is thinking before making. The role of mind mapping is one important to our methodology and one we practice every day. Griffith wanted to explain to these students the importance of asking questions and sorting through a variety of ideas, options, possibilities, challenges, and more.
During the student’s brainstorming session, they came up with a game idea for Rosas Café, a local Texas restaurant chain, which teaches kids how to eat better. In this game, a four-eyed kitty monster eats food that fell from the sky. If the player picked a healthy menu item, they would gain points. At the end of the session, the students understood that planning was not only fun but necessary to solve real-world problems.
“Kids are great brainstormers—totally uninhibited,” explained Greg. “When we lead these sessions with adults, you sometimes worry about how to warm the group up and get them rolling. With this class, the challenge was figuring out how to stop.”
After brainstorming, the 22 math and science students participated in Hour of Code. Using the school’s iPads, they played with some programs like Hopscotch and Lightbot to practice their coding skills. They also experimented with coding popular games like Minecraft, Star Wars, Disney Infinity, and more.
“I think that Bottle Rocket has a tangible vision for building a true mobile community in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area,” Greg continued. “While we often think about college students and professional groups, it’s nice to open our world up to younger kids and see their excitement and provide a little fuel for their imaginations.”
Greg is right. We care about our community in and out of Bottle Rocket. Rocketeers are always looking for ways to give back. If you’re interested in Bottle Rocket’s culture or our past and future charity efforts, feel free to check out our blog.