Published February 14, 2020
PITTSBURG, KS (February 14, 2020) – Nationally recognized Girls Living STEM have selected elementary and intermediate schools in their areas to receive a Smart Buddies™ classroom pack that will inspire girls and boys alike to grow in their understanding of coding as well as diversity and conflict resolution.
Smart Buddies were created by SmartGurlz™ and Pitsco Education and are sold exclusively by Pitsco. The Girls Living STEM were honored last fall at the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening in Cleveland, Ohio. Among the young ladies chosen to donate Smart Buddies and the schools they selected:
- Grace Schenefelt, Greenfield Elementary School, Beverly Hills, MI
- Abby Nanney, Cape Fear Elementary School, Rocky Point, NC
- Laura Victoria Marousky, Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Assata Reid, Stocks Elementary School, Tarboro, NC
- Mallary Williams, H.T. Wiley Intermediate School, Watertown, NY
- Madalyn Nguyen, Valley Elementary School, San Diego, CA
- Sophia Sload, Parsley Elementary School, Wilmington, NC
- Isabella Jablon, The Arts Based School, Winston-Salem, NC
- Isis Jenkins, John Muir School, San Diego, CA
- Gabrielle Akins, Carthage Elementary School, Carthage, NY
- Carley Banninger, Daniel Boone Area Intermediate Center, Douglassville, PA
"These young women were nominated by the STEM Learning Ecosystem in their area for having achieved significant accomplishments in STEM education," said Alyssa Briggs, director of STEM Learning Ecosystems. "Now they have a chance to pay it forward through their donation of Smart Buddies that will engage young students, introduce them to coding, and enlighten them to the importance of accepting their peers who come from various backgrounds and circumstances."
A unique new coding solution accompanied by a curriculum that focuses on increasing diversity awareness for third- to fifth-grade students throughout the US, Smart Buddies includes a diverse set of relatable characters, or buddies, on self-balancing, programmable scooters called Siggys to enable learners to better envision themselves working in STEM and coding careers. With a focus on storytelling, the coding solution leverages the Smart Buddies app, where students are first introduced to their buddies – different role models who have interests in science, engineering, and the arts. These characters address systemic and personal issues such as diversity, race, gender differences, and conflict resolution.
Students are then exposed to the basics of block-based coding by controlling the movements of their characters on their Siggys. Exercises include problem-solving techniques that cover fundamental coding concepts such as sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions, and variables.
"The computational thinking that comes from learning to code, especially in elementary school, benefits every student, regardless of the career they eventually choose," said Pitsco Vice President of Education Matt Frankenbery. "Having employees who can identify and solve problems in the workplace, regardless of the topic, is invaluable to any company or organization. Smart Buddies is an amazing avenue to open the eyes of our future workforce!"
Nearly 90 STEM Learning Ecosystems have formed across the US and even internationally. STEM Ecosystems were identified in a December 2018 federal report as the top strategy for improving STEM literacy, ensuring a strong workforce and global competitiveness for all, and an important means to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in a thriving STEM workforce.
Smart Buddies are available for purchase in customizable four-packs throughout the US, exclusively through Pitsco Education at Pitsco.com/SmartBuddies.
Pitsco Education is the leading provider of hands-on K-12 STEM solutions. STEM education prepares learners for the future through the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math concepts using relevant hands-on applications to connect school, community, and work.
SmartGurlz is a STEM education and entertainment company whose flagship product is a line of friendly, self-balancing robots and action figures that engage and encourage girls to learn code. Connected via smartphone or tablet, SmartGurlz allows girls six and up to immerse themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). SmartGurlz inspires the female leaders of tomorrow, today.
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