Senior Owen Stepan spent the fall semester engaged in an Independent Study with Upper School Computer Science teacher Brianna Ifft, wherein he coded an app for 2nd graders to practice their math skills. By working with the 2nd grade teaching team, led by Brittney Washington, Owen followed the design thinking process to intentionally develop an app for the 2nd graders that would meet them at their level.
During the past semester, Stepan observed the 2nd graders during their math class to help him gain empathy for their experience. He then met with 2nd grade teachers and brainstormed various app ideas that would benefit the 2nd graders’ development. They defined the problem he wanted to help solve, which was developing a fun tool for students to practice their math skills. From there, Stepan developed his app using ReactNative and met with both the 2nd grade teaching? team, to ask for their feedback, and the 2nd grade students, to help them while they tried it out!
With all parties giving the green light, Technology Director Pete Evans pushed the app to all the 2nd grade iPads; students now use it regularly in the classroom.
When asked about working with an older student to develop this app, 2nd grader Micki shared, “We learned how to play and better understand the game that he made for us. It was very helpful!” Theo commented, “It was a fun way to learn math because you get to try to solve a lot of equations.” And Emme said, “I think it was fun because I got to do math another way by using technology.”
One of Stepan’s objectives with this Independent Study was to create a meaningful app for others while developing his own app coding skills, and he accomplished just that.
Please enjoy these photos from the 2nd grade classroom taken throughout the process.