When you walk into Jennifer Brown's 7th grade classroom, you won't find students with their heads buried in textbooks. One group is controlling a robot through a coding app, and another is learning how to build a computer circuit.
These hands-on exercises are part of a new coding class expansion in Hillsborough County Public Schools, thanks to a grant Tampa Bay STEM Network received from code.org.
Students like Troy Insignares say this class will be a buliding block to a future career.
Brown says the benefit of starting coding classes early is the students will learn skills that go far beyond the computer science classroom.
"They learn to be better problem solvers, and better collaborators, and be better communicators through this class," said Brown.
Larry Plank, Director of K12 STEM Education, says these new middle school classes will prepare students for life.
“We are making them aware of the jobs available in the area and helping to build a talent pipeline for our local economy. We can get these kids in jobs that are high-paying, and that will benefit all of us," said Plank.