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Douglass-DIMACS Computing Corps






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.

The last day of the workshop tested participants using a jeopardy game. Jeopardy questions involved tracing through pseudocode to find the output of a program or writing a piece of code involving a variable, if statement, or loop. The second half of the day had girls draw pictures on Khan Academy using coordinates, variables, and if statements in JavaScript.

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

Day 3: Conditionals and Loops

  • 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.

Pictures from the Girl Scouts of New Jersey 3 week programming workshop:

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. 

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Last updated April 11, 2014.