West End Young Coders

On May 28th, we held a young coders event at West End Middle School lead and organized by the amazing Amy Flatt (seen below helping a student). 

We started by inviting the entire student body to watch lightning talks given by local members of the tech community.  We heard from Amber Adams who heads up the Civic Brigade, Jason Myers (Emma), Andrew McElroy (Codex Labs), Erin Page (Holland Square Group), Mohammed Ibrahim (Qualifax) and Ammy Embry (Qualifax).  The topics were broad ranging from old school symbols for drawing games to 3D printing vital organs. 

Andrew and Amber



After the lightning talks ended the class of 33 came to the front of the auditorium.

When we arrived in the library we opened the Pi and began working in Scratch so we could see how programs operate.  In an hour we took a brain break to create throwies; moving to Python afterwords.  The class ambled to the garden for lunch provided by Chipotle in Green Hills.  A little time outside refreshed us to go back for more Python.  An hour later we were ready for a circuit bender’s break.  We took apart several toys purchased from second hand stores and found the bendable spots in the circuit.

The last module included Python, disassembling Pis, reassembling labs and hooking our Pi up to an old TV.  We ended the day with ice cream in the cafeteria.  This lab was run by Lisa Young, Amy Flatt, Andrew McElroy, Jason Myers and Amber Adams. Christie Wolfe came by to record the event in pictures and Dr Kecia Ray popped by to check on us.

Every child took home a Raspberry Pi, power cord, 4 GB card, a Pi case, and a few premiums and stickers in a bag.  We plan to get together next school year and see what we’ve created over the summer.

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors: The Python Software Foundation, Brian Costlow, Matthew Montgomery, Cynthia Jones from Chipotle who provided lunch for the kids, and a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.  We thank our sponsors for a great day! Last and certainly most important, Amy Flatt, one of Nashville’s greatest teachers and technology education advocates.