SAE International Partners with General Motors to Bring New STEM Computer Programming into Elementary Schools

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New classroom program answers the growing need for information technology education in schools

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SAE International, in partnership with General Motors (GM), announced today the launch of its new STEM curriculum program focused on information technology (IT). The new program, titled Programming Each Other, is the latest challenge from SAE International’s A World In Motion® (AWIM) program, nurturing STEM skills at the Pre-K-Grade 8 levels.

“SAE International and GM saw an opportunity to make a difference in schools—and the future workforce pipeline—across the nation, particularly in areas without computer labs or computers in students’ homes,” said Chris Ciuca, Vice President of Programs, SAE International. “Computing occupations make up 58 percent of all projected new jobs in STEM fields, and computer science is one of the highest-paid bachelor’s degrees. Yet not many schools teach computer science, let alone require computer science credits for high school graduation.”

Each lesson in the Programming Each Other challenge includes optional tech extensions and supporting videos, as well as opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and present their findings in a collaborative environment. However, the curriculum is designed as an “unplugged” way to introduce students to IT, so it doesn’t require access to computers to help students grasp basic computer science fundamentals. Instead, students will learn to write programs by developing computational thinking skills with increasingly complex tasks.

“My students gained a lot from this unit. They were able to work with the coding vocabulary at a hands-on level, which I think is so helpful for them,” said one educator who participated in the field test. “My school also participated in SAE’s Hour of Code program, which focuses on coding and computer science, while we were doing this unit. My students were excited to add loops and if-then conditionals to their coding since they actually knew what those things were now.”

Within this exciting premise, students explore basic setbacks inherent to programming, and new levels of difficulty are designed to introduce specific concepts, including loops, conditional statements, variables and error handling. To make learning goals more complex, students write examples of flawed instructions as well as effective programs, using technical terminology to explain their revisions. This creates an effective way for students to learn the fundamentals of programming.

This new program is the second of three IT focused modules in SAE’s AWIM programming, and it can easily be adapted to be an at-home learning activity.

Programming Each Other is now available for elementary schools to utilize for their own classrooms both online and in-person. To learn more, please visit: https://www.sae.org/learn/education/curriculum/programming-each-other.

To learn more about SAE International’s AWIM program, please visit: https://www.sae.org/learn/education.

About the SAE Foundation
The mission of the SAE Foundation is to increase student achievement and participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to build a STEM-fluent workforce. Funds raised by the SAE Foundation support SAE International’s award-winning A World In Motion® (AWIM) program, Collegiate Design SeriesTM (CDS), awards and scholarships. SAE’s STEM education programs enable students to develop the 21st century skills needed to succeed in real-world work environments and connect classroom learning with real-life application. SAE’s STEM programs have reached more than six million students worldwide and engaged more than 30,000 STEM industry professionals as volunteers. SAE International is a global association engaging nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers to advance mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. Get involved today.

About SAE International
SAE International is a global association committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. By engaging nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers, we connect and educate mobility professionals to enable safe, clean, and accessible mobility solutions. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including award-winning programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. More at http://www.sae.org.

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