This week, NewTechKids had a dream gig: taking over two classes of primary school students in grades 7 and 8 at the Montessori Kind Centrum Zeeburgereiland for three days and teaching a project-based, computer science bootcamp.

We were participating as a member of the Mokum Maakcoalitie, a network of organizations in Amsterdam dedicated to Maker education, which is coordinated by Maakplaats021 and the Amsterdam Public Library.

NewTechKids and five other organizations took over teaching responsibilities from the school’s normal teachers so they could participate in professional development and curriculum planning.

NewTechKids introduced 50 students to technology innovation and automation by teaching design, robotics and coding. Over the course of three days, we introduced basic computer science concepts (programming, algorithms, loops, sequence, if/else logic) and then challenged them to invent a series of robots and tech prototypes.

While they initially struggled to adapt to our more experimental, student-led learning experience, they quickly caught on. It was amazing to see how naturally they worked in teams and how quickly they mastered the computer science concepts and how confidently they were able to go from ideation to creating a final prototype.

We finished the bootcamp with a grand challenge: inventing robot games and co-creating a giant funfair. Parents and siblings then came and played the games while learning about what the students learned over the bootcamp.

It was super special to teach mixed classes with gender parity. Again, the experience taught us that girls and boys are equally enthusiastic problem solvers and skilled at tech protoyping and coding.