Design through Code

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Coding is the language of the future. Learning to code can help students succeed in our increasingly connected world. Beyond digital literacy, the process of learning to code promotes essential skills that are valuable across a variety of disciplines from problem-solving and logic, to collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Through SHARP Literacy’s “Design Through Code” (DTC) program, we provide 4th grade and 5th grade students the tools and techniques to become future-ready.   

SHARP has collaborated with numerous organizations including Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation, Design Fugitives, Quad/Graphics, UWM’s Girls Who Code Club, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to develop the DTC program. These individuals vary from experts in technology, engineering, design thinking, art and education.  

In the DTC program, upper elementary students learn about the fundamentals of coding through both “unplugged” (offline) and “plugged” (online) activities. Both unplugged and plugged lessons build knowledge and understanding in different ways, while creating an engaging and collaborative classroom environment.   

The program culminates with a “Design Challenge” – a collaborative project that challenges students to solve a problem they see at school. Working together, students use their knowledge of coding, art and the design process to create a prototype solution to the problem they’ve identified. After creating an artistic rendering with code, a physical prototype and a group presentation about their project, students present their projects to a panel of professionals in STEAM careers. Student groups present their projects to this panel of professionals and in turn gain confidence in their work while also seeing a future for themselves in STEAM.  

Students in our Milwaukee DTC program visit the campus of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design to see how college students use art and technology to create solutions to real-world problems. Students in our Waukesha DTC program travel to a Quad/Graphics plant to see how an international company uses technology and graphic design to serve their clients. In both educational tours, students not only see technology and art working together,but they will also see a variety of paths to future careers and educational opportunities.   

Current schools: 

  • Banting Elementary (School District of Waukesha) 
  • Doerfler Elementary School (MPS)
  • Escuela Vieau Elementary School (MPS)
  • Forest Home Elementary School (MPS)
  • Notre Dame Girls Middle School (Milwaukee) 
  • Rogers Street Academy (MPS)
  • Summit View Elementary (School District of Waukesha) 
  • Whittier Elementary (School District of Waukesha) 

In order to accommodate the schools on our waiting list for the Design Through Code program, our goal is to raise $100,000. We need your help to make that a reality. Please donate today.

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