About the Program

If you are tired of being told you are too young to learn serious coding, then our Advanced Computer Science Program is just for you! You will connect live with a fantastic instructor and other inspired young coders. Explore the program below and get ready to code your dreams into reality.

Application Timeline:

  • October 1, 2021 (5:00 pm Central): Registrations open
  • October 29, 2021 (11:59 pm Central): Registrations close

Program Events:

  • November 1, 2021: Class begins
    • Mondays & Wednesdays; 5:00-6:30 pm Central
  • No class on November 22, 24 and December 27, 29
  • Class ends February 9, 2022

Explorations in Computer Science is an introductory course that empowers students to use computer science (CS) for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun! Projects include:

  • Designing an animated “choose your own adventure” game
  • Creating a TV channel menu that plays a variety of short TV show clips depending on input from the user
  • Animating a piece of art at a virtual museum that draws itself
  • Integrating storytelling and music using Spotify
  • Lots more!

This course is engaging and relevant to students’ lives. They will create motion, animation, games, and mazes. They will use CS for storytelling, music, and art. And they will explore the fascinating world of artificial intelligence.

The curriculum reflects a highly flexible and integrated approach to learning CS. This course uses inquiry-based activities, videos, assessments, and computing tools, supporting both hands-on instruction and immersive digital learning.

Donna Bohlmann is a recently retired teacher, having spent 31 years teaching multiple grade levels in Ohio and Iowa. She spent more than 16 years as the Talented and Gifted Coordinator for the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School District in Eddyville, Iowa. In 2017 she received the Belin-Blank Center's Educator Award for Outstanding Achievement. Donna has a B.S. in Education from The University of Akron and has completed graduate work at The Ohio State University and The University of Iowa. She currently lives in Ottumwa, Iowa, with her husband, John, and dog, Ivy. She is the mother of Marshall, Jared, and Olivia, and grandma to Luna. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, theatre, scrapbooking, and reading.


Explorations in Computer Science

Grades 4-6

November 01 - February 09, 2022


Explorations in Computer Science is an online, teacher-led, introductory course based on Project STEM curriculum that empowers students to engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun. Through a series of real-world scenarios, projects and challenges, students are introduced to foundational concepts that they will return to repeatedly throughout the course.

How to Register


To determine if this opportunity is a good fit for you, take a moment to consider these questions. 

  • Are you interested in logic and putting things in order? 

  • Are you interested in learning how to code AND about how computers and technology affect our everyday lives? 

  • Are you interested in thinking about how computer science can help us improve the world? 

  • Are you motivated to work through lessons on your own and reach out to ask questions if you need help? 

  • Are you looking forward to working with other young coders during scheduled class time? 

  • If you answered yes to these questions, register now! 

Age ranges vary by class. Any student who is currently in the appropriate grade is eligible to register for Explorations in Computer Science. You do not need to be in a talented and gifted program to register. 

Registration Process

Here's how to register:

  1. Identify one or more classes that are a good fit for your academic strengths and interests. Classes should be selected based on your grade during the current academic year.
  2. Complete a registration form for each selected class.
  3. If there are more eligible students than seats in a class, students will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis, and a waitlist will be generated for the class.
  4. Submit payment.

After You've Registered

Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of our coding experiences varies, and the price is listed by each opportunity. We know that times are hard for many students and their families right now. Fortunately, we are committed to supporting one another, so financial aid and payment plans are available to families who qualify.

You may receive financial aid for up to half the cost of the program. Awards are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, while funds are available. Qualification for free or reduced-price lunch typically determines eligibility. After reviewing your information, we will send you an email regarding any award you may receive. If you are granted financial aid, it will be applied directly to your program fees.

Payment Options

There are three options for payment of program fees:

  • Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  • Pay in three equal monthly installments using a credit card.
  • Set up an individualized payment plan. Payment plans are available by contacting the Belin-Blank Center at belinblank@uiowa.edu.


Students will be using Project STEM’s digital learning platform to manage course discussions, materials, and assignments. They will also use Zoom for in-person discussions. Please make sure the device you plan to use during Explorations in Coding is capable and that you are comfortable with these platforms.

Cancellation Policy

  • If you must cancel, please email students@belinblank.org as soon as possible so that a student on the waiting list may attend.  
  • We will not provide a refund for cancellations made within 10 days of the class start date.   
  • If we must cancel a class in advance, you will receive a full refund.   
  • If we must reschedule the start time or date of a class and your student does not attend, you will receive a full refund upon request. 
  • If a student misses a class, you are not entitled to a refund. 

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