Programming the Statehouse

Westfield students visit the Statehouse to showcase their gaming skills.

by REAGAN MOTSINGER


WESTFIELD, Ind. (Jan. 24, 2019) - We've heard of politicians playing games, but have you ever imagined them playing video games? Westfield students from Mrs. Podell’s Game Programming II class witnessed just that during their trip to the Indiana Statehouse.


“I was presenting my game and telling state senators and other schools, and the governor as well, about what we do at Westfield High School regarding computer science,” Clayton Schmidter (11) said. “[One] senator tried our game, and he was really good at it, and he caught on quickly.”


Schmidter and his classmates were invited to share games they had programmed in class with schools from around the state. For Owen Dossett (10), the presentation itself was not the challenge.


“It was actually pretty easy because generally I can talk to people,” Dossett said. “It was mostly just making conversation and explaining what we were doing. The biggest challenge was explaining in simpler terms how Javascript works to people who don’t necessarily have any background in computer science.”


Zach Watson (10) also had difficulties with explaining how his game, similar to Asteroids, worked to his audience.


“The biggest challenge was probably trying to explain the mechanics of it because a lot of people that came by wanted to know how it worked, and there was a lot of physics-based and math-based algorithms in there to make sure that the ship flew right and had momentum,” Watson said. “Partly because people didn’t understand what certain things were, and also just because simulating physics in a computer environment is hard in the first place.”


Despite the challenges that the students faced, they also learned from the other schools present and experienced new and interesting concepts, which was a great perk of getting out of school.


“There was a school for deaf kids there, and getting to interact with them was really fun,” Dossett said. “I learned a little bit of sign language, which was really fun, but [that] was probably my favorite part. It’s sort of eye-opening because I’ve never really interacted with people like that.”


Overall, Mrs. Podell's class enjoyed sharing their passion with government officials and were very proud to be Shamrocks at the Statehouse.


“I thought it was a good honor to represent Westfield about computer science,” Schmidter said. “I’m pretty passionate about that.”

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