Guilford pupils spending ‘Tuesdays Together’ with new after-school program

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GUILFORD — With the start of the new year students at Piscataquis Community Elementary School have a pair of new weekly educational extracurricular activity options.

Principal Anita Wright said “Tuesdays Together” began the first week after the winter break to meet from 3-4:30 p.m. with one program for the elementary students and another activity for the middle school pupils of the kindergarten through grade 8 institution. “For elementary it’s coding, they learn how to code,” she said, explaining the program continues what students were introduced to last month at a Family Coding Night.

The younger pupils are learning about coding with Assistant Principal/SAD 4 Technology Director Jessica Dunton. Dunton said the first session held in the library had 13 participants and they began with various games and activities on iPads designed to get them thinking about how to create programs of their own.
Dunton said “Tuesdays Together” coding is self-paced and students can choose from various activities to match their interests. She said eventually the program participants may get to solving problems and helping others with computer difficulties as a form of computer service.

“For grades 5-8 Tuesdays Together is Canstruction,” Wright said about the program she is involved in. She said the older students will be making a Rubik’s cube out of canned goods, in the school colors of blue and gold.

Wright said the students will be using their Science, Technology, Engineer and Math (STEM) skills and creativity to design and then build their can Rubik’s cube, “so they can really see how math exists to figure it out.” She said some Canstruction templates have 8,000 cans being used but the Tuesdays Together creation will likely be scaled down.

“We just want to use it for kids for designed thinking,” Wright said. She said assistance from members of the community is both wanted and needed, saying the school is the hub of the community and the students can learn from residents with knowledge of science, engineering, the arts and more.

Wright said the Canstruction creation will be funded in part by a grant the school has received, and students are also writing to local grocery stores seeking donations of canned goods for another lesson.
“In the end you donate all that food to the local food pantry so you give back, it is real life with a purpose,” she said.

“We are building it on the stage and we are going to have a big reveal when they finish,” Wright said, with the spring as a likely completion date.

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