Computer science is rapidly advancing in our contemporary society, being one of the most common degrees pursued, used in almost every existent field of study, and encouraged as a staple course in more schools than ever. With time, programming is becoming a language as that of mathematics, and that is exactly why children must start learning about computers and technology from a young age just like how they learn how to add and subtract numbers since when they are three years old. With the push that coding is receiving lately, the number of resources offered has abounded, with several easy to learn programming languages and tools to ensure that the students learn basic logic and operations before they are introduced to more complicated concepts. However, just like how math tournaments help assess students’ level of understanding, push them to learn more, and introduce them to new concepts, so do computer science competitions. They help motivate children to learn more, explore newer concepts because of the other projects, and, probably most important of all, make new friends who share similar interests, encouraging them to work with each other in the future to better flex their coding muscle. Several such interesting coding events exist.
*The following events will be listed in an order of increasing complexity*
The Scratch Competition is one such event that involves creating projects and competing against other “Scratchers”. Students will create theme-related projects, such as a game bound by certain rules as in 2019. Other competitions involve the Scratch Cup and the Scratch Olympics.
FIRST’s Lego League is a little bit more involved than just coding, as it requires some mechanical engineering muscle to build dynamic robots that will tackle the tasks set by that year’s competition guidelines. The students, aging anywhere from 9 to 16 years old, will create a robot that will finish as many tasks as fully as possible with the custom Lego programming language.
Georgia Student Technology Competition is a highly diverse computer science competition that has several categories, such as game design, internet applications, device modification, and robotics, etc. Anyone from 1st grade is eligible to participate, where the first-place winner at the regional level moves onto the state level to find their true competition.
FIRST Robotics Competition
The FIRST Robotics Competition is a beefed-up version of the FIRST Lego League with real metal components and Java codebase instead of the drag-drop custom language used for the Lego League. These competitions are a lot more involved with the mechanical and the software aspects, as the challenges are based on fundamental problem-solving logic, being eligible only for high-school students.
While it is hard to argue for the fact that the American Computer Science League is of a higher difficulty level than FIRST Robotics Competition, it is safe to say that ACSL is the competition that focuses the most on fundamental computer science concepts. Any student from grade 3 is eligible to participate in this team competition organized by a school chapter. This competition involves several rounds of testing for four to six months with short-answer tests and take-home logical programming problems.
- Coach Akash