On August 22nd, the All Girls STEM Society held their first workshop of the 2020-2021 school year. Kaavya, Sebrina, Anusri, Lindsay, Sonakashi and Nayana from Del Norte High School branch of AGSS led the workshop. From 2:00 to 4:00, girls learnt about the 11 systems that make their body run.
After Emma introduced the workshop and went over Zoom procedures, Lindsay started small with the building blocks of the human body: cells. She taught girls about organelles of the cells and how the nucleus is like the brain of the cell while the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Participants also learnt about how cells make up tissues which make up organs which make systems which make up our entire body! Finally, she introduced the girls to the nine systems that would be covered in the workshop: cardiovascular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, digestive, immune, urinary and muscular. She asked participants what each of the systems did, and girls responded both out loud and in the chat.
On July 18th, All Girls STEM Society held their Geometry Workshop which was the second of a two part summer series on competition math. Even in the middle of summer, over two dozen dedicated girls participated. To accommodate different levels of prior exposure to material and different learning styles, the girls were split into breakout rooms. Emma took girls who had already learnt the material before to a separate breakout room. She noted that “After the first week, we realized that every participant had a different level of experience with competition math. Some had never seen it before, while some were already very skilled, which was totally okay! Everyone starts somewhere. So in order to make sure every girl learned something and challenged themselves, we decided to split off into breakout rooms so that we could better meet the needs of each participant.” Meanwhile, Amanda took most of the girls through angles and triangles.
Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, the All Girls STEM Society launched its first ever summer workshop series!
July 11th was week 1 of the two-week long Math Series. Led by Amanda, the 50 enthusiastic girls learned about exponents, prime numbers, factorization, and systems of equations. Throughout the workshop, the girls worked together by brainstorming ideas to solve classic math competition problems that were designed to be challenging. The chat would flood with creative solutions and silly comments from our bright participants. For instance, when discussing order of operations, which is commonly remembered as “PEMDAS,” one girl shared that she liked to remember “PEMDAS” as “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” Not only was her insight helpful, but also nostalgic, conjuring memories of elementary school for many volunteers.
On Sunday, May 3, 2020, over 50 girls from grades 3-8 gathered on Zoom to participate in the annual All Girls Math Bonanza. The event was all about collaborating as a team with other girls to solve challenging math problems in breakout rooms. In the bonanza, the girls discussed possible solutions for target round, speedily raced through problems for sprint round, and worked together to crack puzzles for team round, with an occasional hint from the volunteers. All of the girls did amazing, thinking up unique solutions and not giving up in the face of a challenge!
On April 19, 2020, the All Girls STEM Society held a Probability and Prediction Workshop. Led by Maggie, Lindsay, and Cindy, over 45 girls from grades 5-8 gathered on the online video conferencing platform Zoom. In the workshop, girls were introduced to the basics of probability and how it was applicable to their real lives. However, not gambling! Maggie emphasized, “We are not teaching you to gamble because gambling is bad!”
On February 23, 2020, the All Girls STEM Society hosted the Scratch Programming workshop led by Audrey and Kira at the Mission Valley Public Library. In this workshop, girls learned about the basics of computer programming and got the chance to experience coding with Scratch. Scratch is a block-interface programming language, in which users can create algorithms for the cat to preform such as gliding, disappearing, spinning, or obtaining user input.
When the girls first arrived, they worked on binary-code word puzzles. In their words, they were excited to “learn new things” and “explore the new website.” Audrey and Kira opened the workshop with the definition and history of computer science including the inspiring Grace Hopper, also known as the “Queen of Code.”
On January 26, 2020, the All Girls STEM Society hosted a neuroscience workshop at the Mission Valley Public Library with over 50 young girls in attendance. In this workshop, led by co-president Amanda Tran, girls learned about the different parts and functions of the human brain.
On November 16th, All Girls STEM Society and FTC Robotics team, The Clueless, hosted the Lego Mindstorms Workshop. Throughout the workshop, the girls explored a variety of topics ranging from coding and building to core values.
The workshop began with an introduction by co-presidents Amanda and Emma who then handed things off to Emily and she began with an introduction to robots and their complex components and parts. When asked to define a robot, one girl said, "Something that is programmed to perform actions.” Emily further added that a robot “uses its surroundings and carries out tasks according to instructions with certain autonomy.”
Emily then compared different robot parts to parts of the human brain. She explained that robots, like people, require brains to guide their movements and sensors to detect their surroundings. She says, “Motors tell us what goes on in our world. They are like our eyes or our skin, without them we wouldn’t know what’s going on in the world.” She emphasized an important goal to keep in mind when designing a robot: it should be “simple, sturdy, reliable, and easy to replicate and for less to go wrong.”
On Sunday, October 27, over 50 girls attended the All Girls STEM Society’s first Logic Workshop at Mission Valley Public Library. This workshop, created by Emma, Mira, and Clare, challenged the girls with many fun hands-on puzzles and kept the girls active and engaged.