• A screen shot of Paxton Summer '28's winning entry. The Tynker-NASA challenge drew some 10,000 entries.

To infinity and beyond

Friends School 3rd grader Paxton Summers ‘28 has won an international coding challenge by Tynker in partnership with NASA. Paxton’s project, an animated “Forward to the Moon” mission patch, was one of five winners selected by NASA experts from nearly 10,000 entries from around the world. For his winning entry, NASA rewarded the young programmer, along with his classmates and fellow Lower School students, with a live videoconference presented by Kevin Metrocavage, the International Space Station operations manager in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. NASA planned the May 20 presentation to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 mission, which took place on May 18, 1969.

Paxton’s love of coding and exposure to the Tynker-NASA challenge is credited in part to Andy Hanes, a Tynker Blue Ribbon educator at Friends who works with Lower School teachers and students to integrate coding and computer science across the curriculum; The tech-savvy nine year old can also thank Genius Time, a student-led learning initiative that engages 3rd and 4th graders in researching a topic of their choice and then demonstrating their knowledge through a variety of hands-on projects.

“Paxton has been learning about computer programming and coding, even dabbling in learning the programming language of Python, as a part of 3rd grade Genius Time. While taking a pause with his Python course, Paxton entered a coding challenge sponsored by Tynker and NASA,” said Hanes. Click here to view Paxton’s winning entry.
The Design A Mission Patch project is the first of three planned “Moon2Mars” coding challenges being released this year by Tynker in collaboration with NASA, taking students on journeys from Earth to the Moon and then on to Mars.
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