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NII Explore coding delivered to more than 2,000 local students this year

Fun, curriculum-based lessons presented remotely to classrooms throughout Bruce and Grey counties

“Miss Annika?” a small voice politely asked during the third week of NII Explore’s virtual Coding in the Classroom program. NII coding instructor Annika Van Veen spotted the speaker in the classroom of seven-year-olds on her screen as he continued: “I just wanted you to know that coding is so cool, and I love it!”

As the school year winds to a close, NII Explore has completed its final week of coding education for more than 2,000 elementary students across Bruce and Grey counties.

Since March 2020, NII has delivered coding lessons to more than 4,400 students in nearly 200 classrooms—at more than three quarters of the elementary schools in Bruce and Grey counties.

Lessons support grade two to eight curriculum goals of patterns, problem-solving and literacy education, helping rural students learn foundational skills that are key to working in a digital economy.

“Working with these students over the last four weeks was an incredible experience,” said Van Veen. “Watching them get excited over solving problems in their code was amazing—it was the highlight of my day.”

Whether it’s younger students guiding a virtual honeybee towards flowers using a JavaScript-based platform or older students designing two-player video games using Scratch, the team at the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) have created a space where coding can be explored by all—in a fun, easy-to-understand way.

Said Kathryn Sword, a grade three/four teacher at Hepworth Central Public School:

“My students looked forward to the coding sessions. It was helpful to me as a teacher as I worked with the students to understand the program and the learning. And it was great seeing the students help each other and explain how to work the program.”

“NII Explore loves going into local schools and working with teachers to support our students,” said Phillip Craig, Director of the NII Explore program. “With technology playing a huge role in the jobs of the future, NII Explore is proud to be working with the Bluewater District and Bruce-Grey Catholic District school boards to prepare rural students for the workforce of tomorrow.”

NII Explore is a program dedicated to delivering enhanced educational experiences for school-aged children to learn, experiment, discover and create. Coding in the Classroom is supported by NII’s Founding Members—Bruce Power, BWXT Canada, Cameco, E.S. Fox Limited, Kinectrics and SNC-Lavalin—who are committed to bringing unique STEM opportunities to students in this region.

NII Explore’s educational programming offers a range of learning styles that connects students to the best teaching and knowledge available. Learn more at and join the conversation on Instagram @NIIExplore and Facebook @OntarioNII.


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