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Encouraging Students to Learn Basic Coding for a Science Fair Project—Broadcom Coding with Commitment®

The Broadcom Coding with Commitment® award celebrates students in grades 5-8 who use basic coding to solve a community problem that they care about that aligns with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Learn more about several of the student projects recognized at Broadcom Foundation-sponsored science fairs this year to get inspired by the potential of student coding or be empowered to solve real-world problems!

Two students working on a basic coding project using Scratch and Raspberry Pi

Broadcom Coding with Commitment® is a program of the Broadcom Foundation aimed at motivating middle school students to view basic coding as a fundamental skill for creating innovative solutions to real-world problems they care about. Available to students in grades 5-8 who are participating in a Broadcom Foundation-supported science fair, competition, or STEM showcase, the Broadcom Coding with Commitment award highlights coding as an essential 21st-century skill, a language and design tool that empowers students to actively engage in solving the problems they are most passionate about in their communities.

Broadcom Coding with Commitment Winners

With a goal of inspiring students, especially those from under-resourced or underrepresented communities, to "think globally and act locally," the Broadcom Coding with Commitment award recognizes basic coding projects that focus on creating solutions for problems of individual student interest and align with the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Projects recognized with Broadcom Coding with Commitment awards use coding for problem solving in a wide range of STEM fields.

Here are a few of the inspiring code-based projects recognized this year:

  • Emily Diep, 7th grade—Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair (GSDSEF): Emily created a "Virtual Piano Teacher" to make the benefit of having a "teacher" while learning to play piano available to those unable to afford lessons. Emily's program compares a student's playing of a song to the "teacher's" copy of the song, highlights the differences, and provides the student with feedback. “I am lucky to have a piano teacher who helped me understand and learn from my mistakes,” said Emily. “I thought about so many others who do not have this luxury and wanted to help them.”
  • Misha Bushkin, 6th grade—Irvine Unified School District Science Fair: Misha developed a "Multiplication Program" to help elementary school students learn and practice their multiplication tables. In testing with Misha and Misha's brother, both demonstrated improvement in speed and/or accuracy when recalling multiplication facts after using the program.
  • Pratyush Inturi, 6th grade—Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit (SEFMD): Pratyush designed a dog collar with an integrated light and GPS tracker to make it easier for people to find a dog that has gotten lost.
  • Roy Dagrella, 5th grade—Riverside County Science and Engineering Fair (RCSEF): Roy created a computer game to help people with Alzheimer's or memory loss practice memorization and recall tasks. Roy was inspired to use coding to explore ways to help improve memory by his family's experience helping a neighbor with Alzheimer's. (Read Roy's story, A Video Game Science Project to Help People with Alzheimer's)
  • Salvador Lofat, 6th grade—Austin Energy Regional Science Festival: Salvador designed a robotic hand from LEGO (and a LEGO Mindstorm brain to control it) to explore the process of making a functioning autonomous robot from available materials.
  • Samuel Kaspar, 7th grade—Minnesota Academy of Science State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF): Samuel's project seeks to improve the diagnosis, care, and prognosis for patients with pneumonia. Samuel developed an automated machine learning system for faster diagnosis.
  • Nikita Jain and Ira Thota—California Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF): Nikita and Ira collaborated to develop Floodnet, an early flood warning system that uses a network of sensors to monitor water level and flow rate. "We built a networked flood warning system that uses the water level and flow rate to minimize the loss of property, livestock, and lives."
  • Luthfa Zaceria—Synopsys Outreach Foundation Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair: Luthfa created a deep learning model neural network application to improve the diagnosis of eye problems. The project aims to make retinal imaging and diagnosis of ophthalmic conditions more accessible and affordable, which could lead to earlier treatment and improved outcomes. Luthfa also designed a cost-effective smartphone lens attachment to work with the system.
  • Zitlaly Lopez—Orange County Science & Engineering Fair (OCSEF): Zitlaly's project was inspired by her desire to find a solution to her sister’s insomnia and to investigate whether or not there is a link between vegetarianism and sleep patterns.
  • Nathaniel Carnow, 8th grade—Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair: Nathaniel coded a hand-washing timer to help people follow guidelines for effective hand washing.

Try a Coding Project

Student coding projects can involve video game design, app design, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and the combination of programming with circuits, sensors, and inputs. Broadcom Coding with Commitment reinforces the idea that programming may hold the key to developing solutions for many problems of personal as well as global interest. Learning basic coding skills and becoming comfortable thinking about solutions using computational thinking and algorithmic approaches can put students on rewarding career paths in every STEM field.

Coding lets students control low-cost computers and electronic components to interact with the real world. Examples include:

  • Automatically gathering and storing data about the environment ,such as temperature, light, humidity, or air pressure, with a sensor
  • Activating lights, motors or cameras and offer buttons, switches, and other ways for humans or animals to interact with a project
  • Accessing and analyzing scientific data on web servers, such as real-time weather measurements or genome sequencing data

Students can get started coding with a range of accessible drag-and-drop coding tools and programming languages, including Scratch for block-base programming and Raspberry Pi or Arduino for physical computing projects that combine circuit building and coding.

Students who are interested in trying coding for the first time can get started with introductory projects like these:

The following projects can help jumpstart code-based projects related to a range of cutting-edge areas of science or real-world problems:

The following resources and guides are available for students interested in exploring computer science and coding projects, using Scratch, or getting started with physical computing and Arduino:

Encourage Students to Try Coding

The following resources are designed to help educators introduce students to coding:

Summer is a great time to start exploring coding and working on a code-based project! Learn more about picking and doing a summer science deep dive in this post Deep Dive into STEM—Do a Summer Science Project!.

Science Buddies is proud to partner with the Broadcom Foundation to support, encourage, and enable student exploration of coding through independent science and engineering projects.


Free science fair projects.