About the Program

If you are tired of being told you are too young to learn serious coding, then our Coders' Lab 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, 2020 (5:00 pm Central): Registrations open
  • November 1, 2020 (11:59 pm Central): Registrations close

Program Events:

  • November 2, 2020: Class begins
    • Mondays & Wednesdays; 5:30-6:30 pm Central
  • No class on November 23, 25 and December 21, 23
  • Class ends March 17, 2021

You will learn the Python programming language through interactive project-based coding practices and a unique drag-to-text toolkit to help you learn syntax and commands. Explorations in Coding is a blended online course. This means you will have set class times to meet with a teacher and peers, plus independent time to work through modules and develop projects. Curriculum at this level is typically recommended for middle school students, but bright and motivated students in grades 4 – 6 will feel right at home. No prior computer science experience is necessary.

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 Coding I

Grades 4-6

November 02 - March 17, 2021


Explorations in Coding I will help beginning coders understand core computing concepts and develop foundational programming and computer science skills. Every week, you will join your instructor and peers online and create computer programs to express yourself and solve problems! You will learn the Python programming language through interactive project-based coding practices and a unique drag-to-text toolkit to help you learn syntax and commands. This class will also help you grow in problem-solving and critical thinking skills, creativity, collaboration, and communication. Plus, you and your new friends will get to explore how computing is impacting society.

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 Coders' Lab classes. 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 Edhesive’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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