Chicago Students Exemplify Growth with Almost 3 Million Lines of Tynker Code

Chicago Students Exemplify Growth with Almost 3 Million Lines of Tynker Code

Chicago Students Exemplify Growth with Almost 3 Million Lines of Tynker Code  

Miguel Santana is a K-8 Technology Coordinator at Salmon P. Chase Elementary for the Chicago Public School system. He’s in his 23rd year of teaching and was introduced to Tynker through the Hour of Code. To date, CPS students have coded 2,873,888 lines of code with Tynker, making them some of Chicago’s Tynker leaders. Mr. Santana shares his progress with Tynker below: 

I’ve used and other programs, but not to the expanse that Tynker offers. With Tynker, it’s scaffolded – kids can be supported at any level, and it’s so easy to differentiate instruction. I have kids that are advanced coders, and I can teach a lesson where they can breeze through a lesson quickly. Tynker makes it so much easier. What drew me to Tynker was the ability to start from scratch; kids can have control over the characters, the setting, the music, and they can use it in any context – science, math, history, ELA. Last year, I used Tynker for the first time, and I found that I liked how it provides support for teachers.

Tynker has allowed my students to think more critically and be able to to create, not restricted to one particular concept. Looking through their projects – there are so many – they can remix them and build on them. I’m always looking for a way for the kids to be creative with technology, and Tynker allows us to do that.

“With Tynker, it’s scaffolded – kids can be supported at any level, and it’s so easy to differentiate instruction.”

Some of the things my kids say about Tynker:

8th Graders

Mariah: “I enjoy using Tynker because it allows us to have a fun in an innovative way – to code.”

Hailey: “Tynker makes coding much easier to do and understand since they offer tutorials and make sure you understand the coding.”

Chase students love the Barbie Pet Vet lesson! 

6th Graders


Kathy: “It’s fun and makes you think a lot.”

2nd Graders:

Jamie: “Esta bien divertido porque puedes jugar y aprender muchas cosas sobre computadoras.”

Melvin: “I like Tynker because its fun – we get to play – and learn code”

Arleth: “I like that you get to show what you learned with the computer…and be a doctor like Barbie.”

3rd Graders:

Lydia: “I like the Mod Minecraft part of Tynker in the Hour of Code section, because you can customize it how much you want and make it your style.”

Heidi: “I really like it way you learn how code things …”

Miranda: “I learned how to make my pets feel better by using coding blocks.”

Working on the Brick Breaker activity.

Our school is in the process of developing a STEAM program, so this was our first year. The kids engage with 3D printing and other fun challenges. My role is to support and synthesize projects from beginning to end. In the world we live in now, software updates so quickly. Every 16 months we have a new iPad, a new phone, a new computer. So, when students develop a project, how do we make it applicable and efficient? That’s when coding comes into play. What Tynker does is provides a platform that encompasses the block programming, the logic behind that, and has the ability to move into text based programming like JavaScript. Text coding – we hope to do that next year with the 7th and 8th grade.

I have the flexibility to use Tynker in a variety of ways: I can assign the lessons to the students, who can do them at their own pace, then we can focus on one content area. We are able to do Tynker with Math and the Physics Cannon game (incorporating velocity and angles), used the Food Web project with Science, a timeline project with History class, and the Multiplication Escape lesson with the 4th grade. The kids learn how to do the the basic coding in my class, then can develop those ideas in their content areas. When I was working with math teachers, students had the familiarity with the program, so the math teachers’ role was really focusing on the concepts and the content.

With Tynker, I love the program, and the kids like it a lot. It saves us a ton of time, provides snapshots of student growth, and gives us the flexibility to be able to do so much.


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