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N.S. students stomp their way to higher math grades with coding program

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A Halifax school is leading the pack when it comes to learning to code in an active and collaborative way.

“It’s all coding, it’s all block coding,” says Grade 5 teacher Amanda Mangione.

Since the beginning of the school year, they’ve been using a program that exercises both brain and body.

“I like to tie it in with multiplication," she says. "We do math fact fluency every single day, so finding different ways to do math facts. We’ve also use it for social and emotional learning."

Mangione attended a professional development conference in the United States that introduced her to a program called Unruly Splat — a STEM learning tool that combines coding with active play.

The program encourages students to develop games using floor mats that they program to light up, make sounds and collect points when they're stomped on.

“It just allows them to try to do something in a different way, learning in a different way, having fun and not really realizing that they’re practicing multiplication, as an example, because they’re just having fun and being competitive with each other,” Mangione says.

“You can code on them and you can make games on them and you can play with them with your friends,” adds student Jax Nickerson-Meehan.

Burton Ettinger Elementary School was one of the first in the country to use Splat. A year later, it's now in 176 schools across Nova Scotia and the students love it.

BOOSTING STUDENTS' MATH SCORES

“It’s awesome because you can exercise, you can play games, math even, competitions which I love competition,” says Rayan El-Bitar.

Quinn Blackler likes how interactive the games are.

“I find it good for our exercise because really we’re just standing in a place and tapping our foot but it still gets us all energized,” he says.

That active approach is also proving to be an effective learning method.

“Their math fact fluency has actually really shot up in the last little bit and we’ve seen that even with some of the Grade 6 assessment that some of the students that I had last year, we are noticing the difference in their fact fluency,” says Mangione.

It's happening one stomp at a time.

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