By Danica Chen, Del Norte High School
On January 8th, 2017, AGSS in partnership with Coding the Future ran a continuation of last year's popular Python programming workshop. Its goal, as is the goal of all of All Girls STEM Society's workshops, is to inspire young girls to pursue STEM. One parent expressed his hopes for his daughter, whose first coding course was the previous Python programming event. "It's too soon to say whether she will love it, but so far she hasn't lost interest," he says. "We've been working together on coding since the last workshop, and I hope this workshop will further develop her skills."
His daughter, Grace Z., says she was really excited to come back.
"I like coding, but I'm most excited about the prizes," she admits. She has the code she did at the last event pulled up on her laptop, looking to tweak or improve upon her designs. She plans on creating an infinitely looping cycle of blue and green circles.
Sruthi P. isn't sure what she wants to code at this event yet, but she is eager to learn.
"I've been coding at school with Scratch, but this is the first time I've used a special program outside of class. I kind of like coding because my dad does it too, and I always want to get better," she explains.
As the workshop began, Veronica Tang, the one of the organization's founders, briefly reviewed the content of the last workshop while introducing new material. Along the way, she asked questions to engage the girls, and correct answers were rewarded with small prizes from the prize box. She also introduced a raffle for take apart erasers and fuzzy animal-shaped pencil cases, resulting in a few cries of excitement from the girls.
At the end of the lecture, Tang surprised the girls with a game of Jeopardy about the material, which the girls were very eager to play. They divided into four groups and chose their team names. It was an incredibly close game, but in the end, the Even Better Than The Awesome Turtles Turtles won with 2100 points.
After the game ended, the girls took a break for cookies, bananas, and water. The girls talked and played as they ate their snacks. Then they went back inside to complete their final projects using all the coding knowledge they had learned. Some coding projects were suggested, such as programming houses or randomized polka dots, but the girls were encouraged to use their creativity and think of their own ideas. And they certainly did - while many put their own twists on laid-out patterns, others created something new, making everything from a turtle pond to an endlessly growing star.
"I definitely love expressing myself artistically inside my class," potato lover Anny W. says, showing me her design of an increasing red and brown square.
Finally, the workshop ended with the results of the raffle, decided by a random number generator. Every person ended up a winner, choosing their prizes with delight.
The next workshop will be a Math Workshop for girls for third to fifth grade on February 18.