MARYVALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Students in Maryvale will have more opportunities to learn how to code thanks to their teacher.
Leon Tynes is a computer science teacher at Academy of Math and Science Desert Sky Charter School. He applied for a grant from the Society for Science and the Public and won. Thanks to a grant, he got a class set of 18 Arduinos and all the accessories to go along with it.
"It's a computer chip. And so it's a microcomputer so the kids can build robots," Tynes explained. "They can create whatever they want. If they want to make a small robot that picks up trash, we can do that. If they want to create or do something with a robotic arm, this will control that so the sky's the limit."
Tynes teaches students from fourth to eighth grade how to code.
"High school level is not the place to start coding. You really need to be doing it in the elementary and in the middle school range in order to be able to make this an actual career," Tyne said.
Without this grant, kits like these would come out of Tynes' pocket and these kits are worth upwards of a thousand bucks!
"I've paid for a lot of these things, types of things out of my pocket. Just because I'm a passionate teacher, I will always find a way. I will work some other side job in education in order to make sure that my kids have what they need," Tynes said.
The school is meeting in person, but if they go back to remote learning, kids can use the kits at home. This provides an opportunity to keep them engaged. This grant allows kids in low-income communities like Maryvale to have the same resources as those in higher-income communities.
"It's just important for me to continue doing things like this, writing grants and taking these opportunities to make sure that our kids have the same opportunities," Tyne said. "Especially with my students, most of them are Hispanic or minority, it's really critical for them to be able to participate in STEM, not just in school but also in life and career."
Tynes said there are 10,000 available STEM jobs in Arizona, but they don't have the graduates to fill those roles yet.