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STEM Billings brings computer science to kids

Posted at 11:01 PM, Mar 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:49:41-04

BILLINGS – STEM Billings educated kids in an ‘Adventure in Coding and Computer Science’ at City College Saturday.

Science, technology, engineering and math. Four subjects abbreviated together as STEM.

A local group, STEM Billings, has been working for four years to marry those subjects in the minds of Billings’s youth. Over 1600 kids have attended STEM Billings events.

STEM Billings is an example of a community rallying together to educate its kids.

“It’s fun to bring in those community experts,” said Hillary Gnerer, Billings Public Schools curriculum specialist.    “(To) have them share what it is that they do in their job so that kids can see all the opportunities they have and how STEM is related everywhere.”

At their ‘adventure in coding,’ kids could pick two sessions from a list of 13 different activities.

Most of the activities had to do with coding computers, but the coding was disguised as something fun.

One of those groups got to meet a circular robot named Sphero. The robot is controlled through an Ipad.

After kids passed the driving test, they got to roll Sphero around in paint to create a masterpiece.


The robot, Sphero, controlled by a kid.

STEM Billings even involves high school students.  Older kids can volunteer their time to help the younger ones learn.

“People tend to think of science as just numbers or boring reactions and stuff,” said John Schallenkamp a senior STEM officer. “Using programming, the kids are able to drive these little cool Spheros around, and they’re having such a blast. It’s kind of cool to see the creativity, the spark, they want to learn more and be able to do more in the world.  And you really want to help cultivate that so that they can grow up and create great things.”

If this looks like something your kid could be interested in keep an eye on STEM Billings Facebook page.