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NMS Students Design Apps In Class



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Eighth grade students in Newtown Middle School computer integration teacher Rachel Smith's classes spend the rotation working on applications for Android devices. This rotation's round of projects cover a wide range of interests, according to Ms Smith.

None of the apps are available for use yet, but some may be published in the future.

Student Charlotte Branchflower combined two things she likes to create her app Coloring Book For Kids.

"I liked coloring in animals, and I like drawing, so I thought it would be cool," said Charlotte, Tuesday, December 20, while scrolling through the MIT App Inventor program all eighth graders use in Ms Smith's classes.

In her app, Charlotte demonstrated, users can choose an image like a giraffe or wolf, then choose colors to add to the templates. Charlotte also created an eraser tool, which Ms Smith said was remarkable.

"It was a lot of programming," Charlotte said, while continuing to demonstrate the eraser tool.

"She figured it out herself, really," said Ms Smith. "She really did."

Student Zachary Macey said he had heard a number of his fellow students complain about staying up all night to finish projects, and when it came time to start his app project, "I wanted to help fix that."

Zachary created his Virtual Planner app to help students manage when work for multiple projects should be completed.

"Eventually, it will take information from the title of the project, the date it is due ... and it will help you break the project down to steps that are reasonable," said Zachary.

Zachary said he expects to make his project available for other students to use once it is completed.

Student Riley Burns has been working outside of her class to create her app. When choosing her eighth grade science project, which all eighth graders complete, Riley said she wanted to create a project for the Connecticut Invention Convention competition, which is held annually by the University of Connecticut and showcases student inventions from around the state and recognizes them with different awards.

Riley explained that her mother, Jennifer Burns, is a nurse practitioner Newtown Center for Pediatrics, and her mother helped her brainstorm for the project. Riley created an app called PageUrPain, which is designed for patients visiting doctors to describe their pain. Riley created a pain scale within the app for patients to better communicate the type of severity of the pain. For younger patients, Riley said she added pictures, using a range of different subjects, like princesses for young girls or cars for boys. The images show the subject experiencing a different levels of pain for younger patients to identify with the pictures.

If Riley's app is successful in all that she wants it to achieve, she said she will publish it for consumers to use on their Android devices.

NMS eighth grade student Charlotte Branchflower created a Coloring Book For Kids app. (Bee Photo, Hallabeck)
NMS Student Zachary Macey created a Virtual Planner app. (Bee Photo, Hallabeck)
NMS eighth grader Riley Burns created her app PageUrPain to help patients and doctors communicate. (Bee Photo, Hallabeck)
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