by Danica Chen, Del Norte High School
On December 18, the AGSS once again hosted its wildly popular Python Programming Workshop. The event was attended by forty students from twenty five schools. The girls learned the basics of programming and programmed their own digital turtles. The concepts were explained in an interesting way, using pancake metaphors and demonstrations in which volunteers pretended to be turtles. The girls were all clearly engaged, laughing as they paid rapt attention.
As always, the organization handed out prizes when the girls answered questions correctly and had a ten minute break, during which the girls could eat cookies and bananas provided by AGSS.
Many of the participants at this event are newcomers who visited AGSS's booth at the STEAM Maker Festival. One such person, a sixth grader, Amanda S., was one of these participants.
"My mom said that coding would come in handy later, so she told me to try it out," she said as she typed up the code for her turtle. "I'm kind of new to this, but so far it seems fun."
After naming their turtle and coding the colors, the break was announced. Some girls lingered by their computers regardless, finishing up the last bit of their turtle's code. During the break, the girls chatted about what they had learned and discussed the turtles they had programmed.
"Mine is cyan, and I named it T," said Lucia M. with excitement. It was clear that they were truly enjoying the lessons they had learned.
Once the break ended, the girls jumped straight back into coding, teaching their turtles how to move in certain direction to form shapes, such as squares, stars, and triangles. Sasha N. programmed her turtle, Dribbles, to create a dodecahedron, or twenty-sided figure. After they mastered that, they learned how to program their shapes in certain colors. Surina V. was one of the first to do so, making her star pink, brown, purple, and red. She said choosing colors was her favorite part of programming.
"It makes the picture more interesting," she explained.
The girls continued to experiment with shape and color, ending the workshop by challenging themselves to make the Olympic rings. When it was time to go, all the girls got to take a prize from the prize box, but they all agreed the real prize was the knowledge they gained.
"I'm going to experiment with code more," Annie M. said on her way out.
The second part of this workshop took place on January 8, 2017.