Macaroni Kid - Hackathon: A fun way to get kids interested in STEM
Welcome to the world of Hackathon:
What is a hackathon: Hackathon is an event where students come together to build and share something from scratch. It is an open environment for students to meet other people with similar interests and for them to learn something new and to come up with solutions to different problems. Participants form groups around common areas of interest and then develop ideas or solutions to address them. Some Hackathons have a theme or a pre-defined challenge and students can register based on their interests. There are many online and offline beginner hackathons all over New Jersey to choose from.
Who can participate in a Hackathon: According to Kayla Wong of Junior Achievement of NJ, “any student in grade 7th-12th grade is eligible to participate.” While the hackathon's workshops are centered around programming, there are different sessions that non-STEM students can participate in. Junior Achievement’s corporate panel focuses on the different jobs opportunities there are around app development, as well as how each panelist found their career path. There are also introductory workshops on coding and app development so students with no coding experience can participate, Wong said.
Arunima Suri, a highschooler who is organizing a Hackathon for her High School, HackPHS, in Princeton said that their hackathon is a very beginner friendly- students with no computer science knowledge can participate as well.
What does a student get out of a Hackathon: Students learn new technical skills and soft skills. Participants augment their learning by teaching themselves how to independently research new technologies and fix problems they encounter. Every time students encounter new challenges at a hackathon, they must learn how to fix the problem through independent study within a pre-set amount of time.
Beginners get an opportunity to participate in entry level workshops like intro to Java, Python, and robotics. Plus there are brain stimulating activities and games like kahoot, chess matches and jeopardy games, Arunima Suri said.
Students also get an opportunity to win prizes as some challenges are judged and prizes are given out.
Anyone can participate by themselves or in a team. Students can participate virtually if desired.
Who organizes Hackathons: Hackathons can be organized by school students, like Arunima is doing for her school, they are organized by not for profit organizations, and sometimes by tech companies.
Registration: Most Hackathons are free or may require a nominal fee to participate.
Upcoming events: Most of these events are virtual and free of charge. Please check the events website for current information:
Nov 6th- Nov 7th- hackphs.tech
Oct 31st: Halloween Challenge- https://midnighthacks.tech/
Nov 6th to Nov 7th-https://midnighthacks.tech/
20th Nov- https://limbohacks.tech/
Dec 10th- Dec 12th- https://prestohacks.tech
Learn more about Hackathons: