Bugg Magnet Elementary is Perfect for Tech-Minded Students in NC Triangle

Featuring one of North Carolina’s best and only design and computer sciences programs for elementary students. 
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Are you searching for an elementary school that embraces digital learning to support creative expression and problem solving? Do you want an educational program for your child that is at the forefront of the 21st-Century educational trajectory?

If so, Bugg Magnet Elementary Center for Design & Computer Sciences may be the perfect school for you and your family. Students at Bugg—from kindergarten upwards—are developing the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in our digital era. 

Bugg Magnet Elementary teachers understand the importance of preparing students for the technologically-based careers of tomorrow.

With additional funding from a federal grant, Bugg faculty and staff are creating one of North Carolina’s best and only design and computer sciences programs for elementary students. 

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4 Ways Bugg Magnet Elementary Is Preparing Students for a Digital Future

1. Digital Classrooms

Bugg Magnet Elementary is committed to providing students with fun and engaging learning activities using all manner of digital tools and resources.

Teachers have been trained to integrate design and computational thinking, as well as relevant digital and technical tools, into their daily instruction.

In the short time I’ve been at Bugg,” Principal Dr. Annice Williams says, “I’ve been very impressed by the meaningful integration of computer science concepts into core curriculum.”

“Rather than using technology tools as a digital versions of paper and pencil activities, our teachers are using various platforms to extend their content and develop students’ ‘problem-solving muscles,'” she says.

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Example Teaching: Bugg vs. Traditional Elementary School

Learning looks different at Bugg.

For instance, while students at traditional schools may learn via pourquoi stories explaining how a leopard gets its spots, 3rd graders at Bugg learn this same lesson AND learn how to code their own pourquoi stories via a coding platform called Scratch Jr.

“I love to see when students are engaged with different coding platforms within my classroom,” Third Grade 2020-2021 Bugg Teacher of the Year Adrian Oliver says.

The students seem to enjoy it, too.

“When I incorporate different digital resources and robotics to help to enhance my lessons, I feel that students are more engaged in learning the standards being taught across the curriculum,” she explains.


2. Innovation and Coding Labs

Unique to Bugg, the Innovation Lab is outfitted with a Laser Cutter, 3D printer, and myriad exciting coding games and manipulatives.

The Innovation Lab is a hub of fun and learning for all students at Bugg:

  • Currently, art teacher Quintin Neal is working with 2nd and 3rd grade students to use a software program to design and print their own 3D sculptures in the Innovation Lab.
  • As students return to in-person learning, Technology Specialist Ms. McCollum will give 4th and 5th grade students the opportunity to use Robotics manipulatives that they have designed and built to survey animals of their own creation.

Coding Teacher Greg Rutheny runs the Coding classes at Bugg and is working with teachers and students to incorporate activities from Tynker into their curriculum. This online educational programming platform is accessible to all Bugg students, offering engaging work that makes coding challenging and fun.


3. Unique Electives & Clubs

Bugg Magnet Elementary students choose from a menu of electives, including classes like ‘Digital Game Designers,’ ‘Code, Build, Create,’ and even ‘Battle of the Bots’!  One exciting new photography elective is called Digital Pixels.  Students learn ways to manipulate their cameras to create angles that impact images, for instance, and use digital tools to edit photos using lighting or filter options. 

By the time Bugg students matriculate to middle school, they have had the opportunity to take over 20 electives that fuel their love of learning and better prepare them for a future of creative expression with digital tools.  

Mr. Rutheny’s more recent elective classes, students learned how to do stop motion animation—using legos, they created stop-motion videos of how to build their own Lego dream homes.

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What goes on at Coding Club?

Bugg partners with Vanbara, Inc, a local company whose leaders collaborate with Mr. Rutheny to offer an after-school Coding Club.

Here, students learn programming principles and techniques in a fun way that allows them to express their creativity through technology.

Fifth-grade student Seth says his favorite parts of Coding Club were meeting new people and making friends and creating projects. He recalls a time when he was “messing around with my code in Bavel Blocks” and “programmed a butterfly project where I made a whole swarm of butterflies. It was awesome!” 

Last school year, the students hosted the school’s annual Family Code Night. As Bugg ambassadors and resident Bavel Block experts, they invited family and friends to Bugg and taught them how to design an animated Winter Postcard.

Elijah, another Bugg fifth-grader who enjoys Coding Club, says he enjoyed the increasing challenge of the projects: “The coding got a little harder than what I expected, but most of the time I found a way to get it done. The coding strips got longer and longer and I had to use math skills like multiplying and dividing to make the coding script right. I really enjoyed being around everyone and helping out others when I was finished with my own code,” he says.


4. Opportunities Outside of the Classroom

Another unique enrichment opportunity for Bugg students is their yearly participation in the annual North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) Conference.

Last year, six groups across grade levels shared their outstanding technology and coding skills with educators and vendors from across the state.

Students shared their expertise as artists, coders, composers, designers, and inventors.

They were the hit of the Student Showcase, wowing audiences as they shared their projects using innovative digital tools such as Sphero robots, Makey-Makey circuit boards, and Bavel Blocks and Scratch Jr. programming languages.

“NCTies was really fun because we got to show people our coding projects and then we could go around and see other people’s projects too,” Bugg fifth grade student Lizzie recounts happily.

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“Since coming to Bugg,” parent Bradley Kimbrell says, “I can only speak highly of the staff. The technology and resources available to the students are top notch, but what’s really made the experience is the staff.”

“When we were able to go into the school for all the events for families, it felt like a family.  I really love that about the school.” Kimbrell’s student is in first grade.

The Bugg Magnet Elementary team is welcoming new students for the 2021-22 school year.

Sign up for a virtual information session, then fill out your magnet application by January 28, 2021, so that your child can begin their fantastic experience to become budding scientists or up-and-coming engineers.

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