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Flathead students excel in coding competition

HILARY MATHESON Daily Inter LakeMay 17, 2019

Fourth- through eighth-grade girls demonstrated their coding skills last week at the first Northwest Regional App Challenge at Flathead Valley Community College.

About 50 girls participated in the May 11-12 competition organized by Code Girls United. The competition got underway as 15 teams from around Montana demonstrated coding projects such as apps, robotics and websites. The teams were then pared down to six before judges selected the top three teams. The top three teams were awarded scholarships in the amounts of 2,500 and $1,000, respectively, to be divided among teammates.

First place went to Taylor Pooton of team Dynasty Code for her project “Student Scan,” a real-time tracking system that notifies adults, such as parents or educators, when children enter or leave a school bus, classroom or building through radio-frequency identification. Pooton coded Student Scan using Javascript, HTML and CSS. Pooton is a seventh-grader at Cayuse Prairie School.

Second place went to Emma Anderson, Kyra and Trinity Hutchison of team Helping Hand Coders for “Sitting Still Will Make You Ill,” an app that alerts a user when to get up and exercise. Users can set reminders, receive exercise recommendations and learn about the importance of exercise. The team created the app using an open source program called MIT App Inventor.

Anderson is a fifth-grader at Stillwater Christian School. Kyra Hutchison is a home-schooled eighth-grader. Trinity Hutchison is a home schooled fifth-grader.

Stillwater Christian School eighth-graders Meara Geer and Abby Stillo of team Coding Corgis took third place. The girls programmed a self-driving robotic system to get people who cannot drive where they need to go, such as young and elderly age groups.

In addition to the competition, girls participated in team building activities.

Code Girls United is a free after-school program offered to girls in fourth through eighth grade who want to learn coding and business skills.

For more information visit www.codegirlsunited.org or contact Marianne Smith at Marianne.Smith.CGU@gmail.com.

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