Florida's Putnam County School District Introduces Computer Science in PE and Wins Prize in National Coding Competition


PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla.Oct. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- This school year, elementary school students across Putnam County literally jumped into learning to code. Faced with the challenge of introducing coding in PE class, the district's STEM specialists Michael Helms and Lorena Dominey discovered Unruly Splats, a computer science education tool that helps schools combine coding and active play.

6th graders at Browning Pearce Elementary School compete to earn the most stomps in a nationwide coding competition in September.
6th graders at Browning Pearce Elementary School compete to earn the most stomps in a nationwide coding competition in September.

This week, Browning Pearce Elementary School broke the record for highest average number of stomps a day in a national competition. In less than two weeks, students tracked a total of 1,432,175 stomps–the equivalent of over 243,000 calories burned! The school persevered despite school shutting down for several days due to Hurricane Ian.

"Watching my athletic kids learn to love code as much as they love sports has been amazing," said Rebecca Bennett, a PE and STEM teacher at Browning Pearce Elementary School. "This is the first time I've seen a tool that seamlessly combines computer science and PE."

Browning Pearce's 6th graders were the first in the district to use Unruly Splats, which are programmable floor buttons that students stomp on to light up, make sounds, and collect points. Using an iPad or Chromebook, students can code them to create games like relay races and whack-a-mole that promote movement and collaboration.

"Our goal is to get STEM into the classroom every day, which means getting creative with where we introduce it, like in PE," said Mr. Helms. "We have to teach kids STEM and computer science like we do reading to prepare them for the jobs of the future."

The Putnam County School District introduced an ambitious STEM initiative five years ago to help invigorate classrooms across a district where 100% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

"STEM is one of those subjects that draws students in who might struggle in other classes because it's more hands-on and exploratory," said Mrs. Dominey. "Unruly Splats introduce a whole new level of active engagement. The students love that they get to play games and actually jump up and down on the devices."

Unruly Splats help schools fulfill a range of high-priority objectives including:

  • Cross-curricular coding: A Gallup study found that 73% of principals believe that computer science is just as important as offering core subjects like math and English. Unruly Splats allow teachers to incorporate coding into any subject, including PE, general education, science, and even music!
  • Recess-like play combined with STEM: The games kids play with Unruly Splats encourage physical movement, helping to combat a decades long drop in active play for children.
  • Hands-on teacher training and support: School memberships come with lesson plans developed by teachers and ongoing bite-sized professional development opportunities to ensure teachers are empowered to incorporate STEM into their classrooms.

This school year, Mr. Helms and Mrs. Dominey have plans to train more teachers across the district with Unruly Splats so that they can combine coding and active play in more subject areas.

To learn more, visit www.unrulysplats.com.

About Unruly Studios

Unruly Studios is the creator of Unruly Splats, the first STEM learning tool that combines coding with active-play. Unruly Studios' vision is to create an electronic playground that makes learning more playful, collaborative, and inclusive. The team is made up of experts in cognitive science, toy manufacturing, education, and technology who bring broad industry experience from Scratch, Hasbro, Mattel, Nickelodeon, iRobot, Disney, and MIT Media Lab.

Media Contact:
Charlotte Ward
(530) 563-6860

SOURCE Unruly Studios