District Partners with Microsoft Store for STEM

Feb 24, 2020

Future-ready learning in Frisco ISD is serious business, and the emphasis is on students not just learning about technology, but using it to create and innovate in new ways.

Thanks to a partnership with the Microsoft Store at Stonebriar Centre, Lawler Middle School students spent a morning this winter engaging with technology at the store surrounded by expert guides.

Students rotated between three stations, where they had an opportunity to expand upon their foundational knowledge in everything from Minecraft to robotics. The goal was to make computer science accessible and apply their requisite skills.

At one station, students gathered around laptops playing Tynker Space Quest while excitedly chatting and comparing notes as dings and music emanated. With Tynker Space Quest, students tried their best to get an alien to the finish line by solving beginner-friendly coding puzzles. It was a safe space for students to guess, check and self-correct.

“We are excited to partner with the District and to see that light bulb moment where kids are taking their coding knowledge and broadening their horizons,” said Julie Tinkler, Microsoft Store Community Development Specialist. “The trainers have been preparing for this and are excited to share computer science with these young learners.”

Across the way, students were excited to engage in a familiar game, Minecraft. Through the game, students explored basic coding concepts while learning about artificial intelligence. Exposing students to new opportunities broadens their horizons.

“I think I want to be an animator or web designer,” said Hrithik Marniyambeth, a Lawler student. “I started getting interested in third grade and have had fun being part of things like the coding club.”

Across the store, another group of students was taping, wiring and cutting as they assembled a robotic finger sensor. The sensor could be worn and would move a robotic finger if put together accurately.

“I like a challenge, and this experience helped us to try something new,” said Lawler student Vyom Rai. “We all really enjoyed it and want to do more stuff like this.

”Seeing the tech come to life was cool. I’m more interested in working in the business field, but this is exciting and I want to learn more about this.”

Clay Watkins is the robotics teacher at Lawler. “It’s been amazing watching the kids work through different projects through coding today,” Watkins said. “This is an extension of what we are doing in the classroom, and we are thankful for this partnership with Microsoft.

“They did a great job of planning and setting activities up for the kids. We look forward to working with them more when either we come back or they visit our robotics or digital animation classes.”

Around him, students smiled and nodded in agreement.

Frisco ISD is thankful for its Partners in Education Program. If you or your business is interested in partnering with the District, you can find more information on the Partners in Education page or by reaching out to Sharon White, community outreach specialist.

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