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24 hour programming event for High School Students

June 16, 2015

Code All Night is Dallas’s first high school focused summer hackathon

Hosted by members of SecondGen, CANHacks brings all of Dallas Area high schools together in one exciting 24-hour event. Make your app, website, or machine a reality with the help of experienced mentors, structured classes, and like-minded peers. Ever had that app, website, or machine you wanted to build but didn’t know where to start? Have you ever wanted to jump into the world of programming and show off an awesome product to your friends? Now is your chance. CANHacks is designed to help students take their first steps into the world of computer science and programming. You’ll have tons of mentors and like-minded peers to help you through the process of making your dream into a reality (not to mention the thousands of dollars in cash and physical prizes for the best products).

Code All Night, will take place July 24th and will be a 24 hr competition. The event will take place at 1201 International Parkway, Richardson, TX. This will be Dallas’s first high school focused summer hackathon. In this event, computer programmers, graphic designers, interface designers, and project managers who are all in high school will collaborate intensively and produce software projects such as: games,applications, robots, and a ton of other engineering projects. The competition is focused on high School students, but college students are invited as well, and beginner to advanced programmers are invited as there will be workshops for beginners to create games with not much programming experience required.

Please click here for more information:

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May 3, 2015

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Family Event: Kidprov

May 3, 2015


Thursday, May 21, 2015

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

For ages Kindergarten  and Up

For Parents and Kids

Cost: Free/Members and $5/Nonmembers

Coppell Middle School East – Cafeteria

Join CGA for a very short General Meeting, followed by a family friendly presentation by Kidprov.  Since 1991, Kidprov has been performing their unique brand of improv comedy for thousands of kids and parents across Texas. Formed from the blend of two masters of improv and one teacher who didn’t have his masters, Kidprov infused educational objectives into their shows without losing the fun. But all the educational trappings aside, Kidprov brings the laughs.

Registration is required for all CGA members and non-members.   Ciick here to register.

Questions?  Please contact Carrie Clark

Looking forward to laughing with you on May 21st!

Sports of the Mind, Dr. Ken Berry

May 3, 2015

What is engineering? Ask an audience of adults and kids and the responses are varied and many: “Problem solving”, “math application”, “building things”, “programming”, “robotics”, “technology”, to name a few. In celebration of Engineering Week, CGA invited Dr. Ken Berry from UTD and CJ Kanelakos from NASA to give us a realistic idea of what engineering looks like now and what to expect in the future.


Dr. Ken Berry, Assistant Director of the Science and Engineering Education Center (“SEEC”) at UTD, challenges some myths of STEM education and engineering careers.

Myth: STEM education is fulfilled by simply offering courses in math and science.

Dr. Berry describes the ideal STEM education in terms of the blending of course strengths — not as different classes that stand alone. According to Dr. Berry, STEM is science, math, technology and engineering. “These are all seen together. They serve each other.” In his view, STEM education should be a conglomeration of each of these underlying skills:

  • Science = study of nature
  • Math = prediction/precision with numbers
  • Technology = provides the numbers through data gathering
  • Engineering = using all of the above to make the world a better place

STEM curriculum should look a lot like what you currently see in a Performing Arts class, says Dr. Berry. Performing Arts classes have 2 core elements: students use professional tools (ie. instruments, theatre stage and props, artistic medium) to mimic what professionals do.

“STEM needs to incorporate professional tools and professional experiences to engage and challenge students.” – Dr. Ken Berry

Myth: STEM should be taught in a traditional classroom method.

The traditional classroom method, according to Dr. Berry, is where knowledge is delivered from the teacher to the student. In many classrooms, “the information tends to be spoon fed” leading to passive learning by the students, and the focus is merely on “competence, not excellence.” Instead, STEM instruction should focus on thinking, instead of memorization, by providing hands-on projects with open-ended results. The necessary hands-on approach to understanding is not unique to academia. Dr. Berry draws from the sports model where motivation is inherent because the activity is challenging, social, and relevant.

Sports Model STEM
Challenging * hard physical workouts,
goal: excellence
* hard mental workouts,
goal: excellence
Social * team/school/community * team/school/community
Relevant * feedback immediate & meaningful * feedback immediate & meaningful

Also in line with the sports model, Dr. Berry distinguishes between group work and teamwork. Typical group work is where a group of students are given an assignment without individual accountability and skill development. The typical result is that one person in the group tends to do all the work because the focus is on the end result and not the process. On the other hand, according to Dr. Berry, teamwork is a more successful model for learning because each participant has “an area of expertise and an individual focus.” It is the combination of each student’s contributions that leads to team success. The team’s work becomes more than just the addition of the parts.

Dr. Berry highlights the STEM program at Coppell High School (and some other districts in the metroplex) as having figured out how to offer a solid STEM curriculum that is project-based and cross-curricular. For more information on the program at CHS, please click here.

Myth: Only people who love math and science should become engineers.

In engineering, there is no requirement for students to love math and science according to Dr. Berry. “Math and science are the calisthenics for explorers, entreupenures, and engineers,” according to Dr. Berry, “these classes are not ends by themselves. An engineer is a person who applies math and science to do something really cool.”

Myth: There are limited opportunities for students to apply STEM knowledge.

The growing number of robotics competitions around the country epitomize the movement to making STEM classes into performing arts classes. There are opportunities for students of all ages to participate in robotics competitions. In fact, over 300,000 students participated in robotics events last year. Some examples are:

“Competition is probably the answer to making science and math fun and immediately relevant for students,” asserts Dr. Berry. He refers to these events as Sports of the Mind and points out that engineering events have all of the appeal of athletic activities (excellence, leadership, communications, community), and are also available to students of different skills, backgrounds and abilities. “Everyone can compete on an equal playing field” as there are no physical requirements. Girls and boys compete together with the physically impaired. In addition, Sports of the Mind develop 21st century work skills that include design, project planning, and technology application.

“With Sports of the Mind, anyone can go pro and have a professional career that lasts a lifetime.” — Dr. Ken Berry

Summer enrichment opportunities at UTD (click here for more information):

  • Robotics
  • Solar Car
  • Quadcopters
  • Rockets
  • Weather Balloons

Celebrating Engineering

May 3, 2015

What is engineering? Ask an audience of adults and kids and the responses are varied and many: “Problem solving”, “math application”, “building things”, “programming”, “robotics”, “technology”, to name a few. In celebration of Engineering Week, CGA invited Dr. Ken Berry from UTD and CJ Kanelakos from NASA to give us a realistic idea of what engineering looks like now and what to expect in the future.


Dr. Berry envisions an education where a STEM education is a Performing Art — similar to band, theatre, arts, even sports programs. He advocates for engineering students use of professional tools and mimic of what professionals do. To find more about what he means, please click SPORTS OF THE MIND and/or UTD SUMMER CAMPS.



CJ KanelakosCJ Kanelakos from NASA used her creative and arts passions to help create “legs” for the Robonaut on the International Space Station. She emphasizes the importance of creativity, design and art in the role of the engineer. To learn more about what she means, please click WOMEN IN ENGINEERING.


SEDDr. Eric Archer and Jason Dixon from Science Entertainment and Design (located in Coppell) also offered hands-on engineering experiences — including robotics and quadcopters. To discover more, please click SED and/or SED STUDENT ENRICHMENT.

Parent MOSAIC Class: iGuide: Parenting in the Digital Age

May 3, 2015

Coppell Gifted Assocation is thrilled to offer (for the first time ever) a MOSAIC parent class! We have limited space for parents to attend a class that explores parenting our digital natives:

iGuide: Parenting Kids in the Digital Age Digital Citizenship, Social Media, and Devices, Oh MY!

June 8th-12th

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Coppell Middle School North

(Note that this class runs during our Student MOSAIC Session)


Parents – come explore some of the components of digital literacy with us in this week long workshop.  We will take a look at some of the most common concerns and excitements of being a parent in the digital age. Here¹s the best part – you will help decide what concepts and issues you would most like to dive into!  This workshop will be broken into two sections:  The first half will be a guided exploration learning experience and the second half will be a book club for parents with a great text to discuss!


Space will be limited, so participants will be taken on a “first come first serve basis.” The cost is $100 or if your child is taking 2 MOSAIC classes in June, $50. To register, contact Carrie at

Student Enrichment: Arduino Event

April 9, 2015

Calling all 6th-8th graders. Learn the basics of building electronics with Arduino. Students will learn how to control LEDs, sensors and motors with the Arduino microcontroller, to build simple robots, wearable computers and electronic toys. Event includes an Arduino kit to keep. Bring your own laptop- this will help you continue exploring after the event is over. Prior exposure to programming beneficial. Space is limited.

When:  May 8th – 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and May 9th – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where: Coppell Middle School West

To register online, click here.