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REDMOND, OR -- Crook County Middle School computer science students spent Thursday at COCC-Redmond, learning to make a stick figure dance to the song "Gangnam Style." They worked with Western Oregon University’s iLumiDance team to code lights on a life-sized stick man, to flash with the beat of the song. The 34 kids were divided into six teams and also learned a dance, moving the limbs of the stick figure along with the music.

Central Oregon STEM Hub Executive Director Angie Mason-Smith says the goal was to teach kids fun and unique applications for computer coding, "They tie in learning the choreography because, as Daryl, the instructor said, computer science and coding is really the same as dance and choreography. You’re learning the steps; you’re telling your body, ‘these are the things you need to do.’ And so, merging the two together, it’s really been fun to see, today."


Eighth grader McKenna Johnson tells KBND News, "I really was expecting us to do some normal coding, like we do at school. But, this was totally different. It’s more hands-on. And, I think if we did more of this, more girls would take coding." Seventh Grader Aiden Bonner says he never knew coding could be so entertaining. "They put dance in there. I’m really surprised they could do that. But, it all turned out great and was a lot of fun, actually."


The STEM Hub is run through the High Desert Education Service District and works with schools across the tri-county area. Mason-Smith says this was the first time they've brought WOU in to offer such a unique program. But, she says they'll definitely do it again, "We do these Ignite events, which just spark curiosity and interest with kids. And then provide resources to teachers to show, ‘you don’t have to be the expert in the room. You just have to create these conditions'."

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