April 17, 2024
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RPRY Hosts Schools for CIJE Hackathon

The RPRY boys team at the Hackathon.

The auditorium in the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva (RPRY) in Edison was abuzz with activity on the afternoon of March 20, as 130 sixth-graders from six schools gathered to participate in a Purim Pinball Machine-Making Hackathon. The event was organized by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE). This event was a fusion of Torah, STEM and collaboration skills.

RPRY hosted two simultaneous hackathons, one for boys and one for girls, with students from Bruriah, JEC, Sha’are Tzion Girls, Sha’are Tzion Boys, Hillel-Deal Boys, and Politz Cherry Hill-Boys and Girls. The student teams were each given a kit with instructions on how to assemble a cardboard pinball machine, wire it for battery power, and install lighting and other elements that enable the full pinball effect. They were also encouraged to decorate their pinball machines in the spirit of Purim. Then they were given two hours to put together their pinball machines.

The boys teams at work.

Students earned badges based on their circuitry, Purim storyboarding or game elements, such as ramps. Students not only collaborated with their peers from their own school, they also helped each other out. CIJE mentors rotated and supported the students as they followed complex instructions. Students often had to reengineer and create multiple iterations until they developed a successful game.

RPRY was eager to host this event, explained Chana Luchins, principal of learning. “A hallmark of our school is our collaborative, SEL [social emotional learning]-oriented STEM program. As a longtime, cutting-edge CIJE school, we are proud and grateful for our continued partnership.”

Hillel Yeshiva boys team with their adviser.

According to CIJE consultant Faigy Gilder, “CIJE’s mission has remained the same since we were founded in 2001: to revolutionize Jewish students’ educational journeys in the United States through innovation and hands-on STEAM [science, technology, engineering, art and math] education. With a commitment to innovation, CIJE brings the dynamic power of STEAM learning to over 200 Jewish day schools and yeshivot spanning 18 states. CIJE elevates the Jewish educational landscape by providing cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking programs. What sets CIJE apart is our ‘hands-on’ approach. We don’t merely deliver resources; we empower educators. We invest in extensive teacher training and curriculum development.”

The girls team from Yeshiva Shaarei Tzion in Piscataway with their adviser.

 

The RPRY girls team with Chana Luchins.

 

CIJE officials with the pinball kit.

Harry Glazer, the Middlesex County Editor of The Jewish Link, can be reached at [email protected]

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