On Friday, December 1, 2017 Nardin Academy hosted a Hack-a-thon, an invention marathon, for both Nardin elementary grades 5 – 8 and high school students. Inspired by corporations who host such events to spark creativity, the event ran from 8am – 8pm, with teams of two - six Nardin students working together to develop a product and learn new technologies under the guidance of mentors, coaches and teachers who are experts in their fields.
Hack-a-thon events allow students' intrinsic interests to drive their education. By allowing students the opportunity to individually build a project from start to finish, students are encouraged to become creative, curious, and critical learners.
"Our student teams became creators, not just consumers of, technology. And, in the process, tackled problems that are of interest to them," said Pam Healy, Nardin Computer Science and Digital Arts Teacher.
This event provided invaluable real world experience for Nardin Academy students, showcasing Nardin's commitment to project-based learning at all grade levels.
"Hack-a-thon is a wonderful opportunity to create an authentic learning experience where students can dive into their passion of coding, gaming, robotics, 3D printing, and design in an atmosphere that encourages student voice and choice," said Aimee Bloom, Nardin's Technology Integration Specialist.
Creations included apps, video games, websites and robots such as a robot that could drive around to collect papers at the start of class, a website called "Community United" connecting students with service organizations, and a recycling website.
Each team brought a project from epiphany to completion all within a single allotment of time. Brain break areas allowed for physical activity to help students stay energized throughout the day while presentations from mentors and coaches provided the inspiration needed to keep students motivated and engaged. Gregg Mojica, Chairman and CEO of Clovis, provided the keynote speech, and Jon Kiddy, Software Engineer at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who specializes in machine learning gave a special presentation on robotics with the Nichols School Robotics Team.
The event, which concluded with a science-fair style exposition of the projects with judges from the Nardin community, was made possible through the support of the following sponsors:
- Schafer Cullen Capital Management
- HighTower Lakewater
- Gaunches Unite
- iDesign Solutions
- Microsoft Store
Prizes were awarded for the Most Innovative Hack, Most Creative Hack, Best Design, and Best Technical Hack. Computer Science Education Week activities will continue December 4 – 10 with students across all grade levels participating in activities such as the Hour of Code.
Congratulations to all students who took part in this wonderful marathon and thank you to all of the mentors who shared their enthusiasm and skills with us!