Computer Craziness and Get with Programming
February 2nd, 9th, 16th, 2014
Douglass-DIMACS Computing Corps teamed up with the Girl Scouts of New Jersey to offer a 3 week programming workshop to girls in the Junior and Cadette levels. The aims of this workshop were to offer an introduction to basic programming concepts like variables, conditionals, loops, and functions as well as to show participants the variety of ways learning computer science could help them in the future.Computer Craziness
This session hosted scouts at the Junior level. On the first day, girl scouts and corps members got to know each other through a presentation and computer science bingo activity. This was followed by a tour of HackRSpace, a Rutgers computer science lab. Girls got to experience using a 3D mouse, watch a 3D printer at work, and take a virtual reality roller coaster ride using a pair of Oculus Rift 3D goggles.
On the second day, participants were divided into four groups and rotated through stations. One station introduced variables and conditionals and played Simon Says using the Finch robot to demonstrate if statements. Another station showed looping in the form of while loops and for loops. The third station was the hardware station. It had a Raspberry Pi connected to a breadboard with color changing LEDs as well as a disassembled Finch robot. Girl scouts got to see how microcontrollers and the Finch's interior sensors looked like at this station. The final station explained necessary parts of a function like parameters and had participants build a function to move the Finch.
Get with Programming
Eleven girl scouts at the Cadette level participated in the Get with Programming session.
Day 1: Introduction
- HackRSpace - Similar to the Junior's session, the Cadettes also toured HackRSpace where they got to interact with a robot, 3-D printer, and roller coaster simulation.
- Presentation - DDCC members presented an introduction to Computer Science and the importance of women in the growing field of computing.
- Computer Science Bingo - This version of bingo involved filling spaces by finding people who can relate to certain skills such as "knows internet safety rules" and "has used Excel"
- Partner Drawing - This activity was used to illustrate the importance of clear instructions which the girls would need to use once we began to program.
Day 2: Small Beginnings
- Error Detection Game - This showed how a computer uses parity bits to detect errors in transmitted messages, adapted from: http://csunplugged.org/error-detection
- Binary Search Game - This illustrated the Binary Search algorithm, adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_search_algorithm#Number_guessing_game
- Programming on Khan Academy - To start the girls off with programming, we created a simple crazy face drawing on Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/computing/cs/programming/drwing-basics/p/challenge-crazy-face). Through this activity, the girls were able to learn the coordinate system and drawing new shapes. The girls set the size of certain parts of the face to variables so they could change it easily later on, so they also learned how variables are important.
Day 3: Conditionals and Loops
Rutgers is a member of the STARS Alliance for Broadening Participation in Computing through Recruiting, Bridging, and Retention. The Douglass-DIMACS Computing Corps is carried out as part of our STARS partnership.
- Loops - The girls learned how to use loops to create simple patterns. They created a diagonal of squares which taught them to increment variables and how to stop the loop once the screen capacity was reached.
- Conditionals, Random variables - Depending on the value of a random number, conditionals were used to print out a circle (for even numbers) or a square (for odd numbers).
- The girls were able to spend the rest of the day using learned skills to create their own programs.
Contacting the Center
Last updated April 11, 2014.