Today was Day 1 of Girls Code the World for the rising fifth and sixth grade girls at the Christina Seix Academy (CSA) of Trenton, New Jersey.
The girls joined virtually at 9 AM, and we introduced ourselves to each other. Some of the girls had attended Girls Code the World in-person in previous years, so they were familiar with the founders, Sydney and Mina. This year, we had a new guest, Cayleigh Haag, a rising sophomore at Central Bucks West High School. Cayleigh will be shadowing throughout the program and will be leading a lesson developed by the founders, called Scratch That.
The girls engaged in activties and lessons such as Introduction to Computer Science and Introduction to Engineering. Both of these lessons incorporate tangible actvities to explain the more complex concepts of coding, engineering, and design. The lessons were tuaght via Zoom, but the girls particpated using materials from their MakerBoxes, a box filled with pre-packaged materials and a Programming Booklet for each lesson. The schedule for the entire day is found below:
|9:00 AM||Opening Ceremony|
|9:30 AM||Introduction to Computer Science Lesson|
|10:30 AM||Snack and Chat Time / Break|
|11:00 AM||Introduction to Engineering Lesson|
|11:40 AM||Closing Ceremony|
In the Introduction to Computer Science Lesson, the girls used their Programming Booklets to write out directions to color in a specific design on a square. Through this process, they learned about the importance of being methodical and specific in computer science. They also made Code.org accounts for later use. A picture from one of the girls’ booklets is seen below.
After Snack and Chat Time, the girls dove into the Engineering Design process in the Introduction to Engineering Lesson. We watched the Engineering Design Process: A Taco Party video to give them a sense of the importance of planning, iterating, and communicating a product, not just building it. The girls were then challenged to design a structure to hold the weight of one marshmallow using pre-packaged materials in ten minutes. After the challenge, the girls disucssed their biggest downfalls and successes in building. They then filled out a few pages in their Programming Booklets. Some of the results from the challenge are seen below.
The day finished with a recap of the activities done during the day. The facilitators, Sydney and Mina, asked the girls for feedback to learn about what they could improve upon to make this experience more valuable for the girls.
The girls expressed their excitement for the rest of the program; Girls Code the World gave them something fun, yet productive, to do in the morning.