AGSS X CyberAssist
This Saturday, February 18, we hosted our Circuitry and Hardware Workshop at Mission Valley Library. This workshop was the first AGSS & CyberAssist collaboration, led by Ryan Qin from CyberAssist along with Kasie Leung from AGSS. CyberAssist collected over 70 computer monitors, hoping to use these materials to teach circuitry and computer hardware before they are donated. Electronics are an essential part of our lives, and the participants were able to explore the parts and inner workings of computers in a hands-on and fun way!
Our first activity involved using copper tape to create our own circuits. We experimented with creating switches and parallel circuits to try and turn on a light, applying our knowledge of atoms and electricity. Upon conducting electricity through our own bodies, one participant exclaimed: “This is actually really cool. I never thought I’d really like this!”
Our next activity was turning ourselves into computers. We simulated the inner workings of a computer, taking on the roles of the CPU, motherboard, RAM, and GPU. Each group had to describe a toy through a chain of different people (acting as computer parts) and finally, draw the best depiction based on the clues given by their team. Afterwards, the participants thought it was “so exciting” to take a look inside a real computer monitor and label the parts themselves.
We hope you can join us at our Cryptography workshop on March 18!
NASA Astrocamp - February
On Saturday, February 4, we hosted our second NASA Astro Camp at the Mission Valley Library. Along with The Clueless FTC robotics team, we learned about NASA missions, rockets, and more, focusing on the Mars Sample Return Mission. Firstly, we learned a little bit about The Clueless, and watched a video of their robot. Then, we heard from our speaker, Dr. Rachel Kronyak, who shared about her work on the Mars Sample Return Mission at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One participant shared that “it was interesting to learn about how the rocks tell us information about Mars”.
Data Science Workshop
This Saturday, January 28th, we hosted our data science workshop at the City Heights Library. Led by Emmie Kao, we learned about probability, statistics, and much more!
Our first activity was a quick introduction to data science, where we collected data from the participants on their favorite part of AGSS. The most popular answer by far was learning about STEM! Next, we learned about what data science is, and some of its real-life uses, specifically in tracking COVID-19 cases. Then, the girls got to collect some data for themselves, by counting how many of each type of candy were in a random cupful, and calculated the probability of how likely it was to pick each candy out of the cup. We then discussed sampling, non-response, and acquiescence biases, and why judging the entire bucket of candy from a cupful wasn’t totally accurate.
NASA Astrocamp - January
On January 7th, we hosted the NASA Astrocamp in collaboration with NASA and The Clueless, a local FTC robotics team. In this workshop, our special guest speaker, Dr. Rachel Kronyak, a system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), talked about the Perseverance and rover and its Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission, and answered participants' questions about all things space. For more information on the MSR mission, please visit their website at https://mars.nasa.gov/index.cfm.
In addition to learning about NASA’s most recent projects and programs, participants designed their own mission patches and logos and designed their own landing systems (modeled by an egg drop). They also built their own sample collectors / drills using straws and rubber bands, constructed their own aerodynamic rockets and programmed commands to guide a mars rover on a simulated terrain!
One participant reported that the camp was “very interesting,” and that she learned about “why rocks on Mars are red.” Another participant said that she learned about how engineers and scientists collaborate together, to help us “explore the deep unknown of space.”
We will be hosting the same NASA Astrocamp on February 4th, from 12:30 - 5:30 pm, at the Mission Valley Library. Also be sure to sign up for our upcoming Data Science workshop at City Heights Library on January 28th!
Holiday STEM Festival
On December 10th, we hosted our annual Holiday STEM Party at the University Community Library. Participants made science and engineering-based, holiday-themed arts and crafts. In build-a-sleigh, we used cardboard and balloons to design self-propelling sleighs, learning about physics and aerodynamics. We used baking soda and shaving cream, with food coloring and glitter to make “fake” snow, and we used oil, water, alka seltzer to make snow globes, and learned about chemistry behind it. We made gingerbread houses using Graham crackers, icing as glue, jelly beans, m&m’s and sprinkles, aiming to engineer the tallest and sturdiest houses. Last but not least, we also made Christmas themed origami, practicing our geometry skills.
One participant said, “It was really fun. My favorite activity was the gingerbread house.” Another participant heartily agreed: “it was very yummy too. I also learned about the polarity of water at the snow globe station.”
We hope you join us at our data science workshop in January. We will also be hosting NASA Astrocamps, in collaboration with the Clueless FTC team and Mission Valley Library on 1/7/23 and 2/4/23.
Machine Learning Workshop
On Saturday, November 19, we hosted our How To Train Your Dragon-themed machine learning workshop at the Mission Valley Library. Led by Angelina Kim, 35 girls explored concepts such as sorting and artificial intelligence. We began by introducing the concept of algorithms, which we illustrated by asking the kids to instruct the volunteers to perform specific tasks (such as sitting or standing) without naming the tasks themselves. One participant commented that this was their favorite part because “it was interesting explaining instructions without being able to say the actual words.” This was followed by a couple of activities about sorting algorithms, specifically bubble sort, and linear and binary search algorithms. We organized pictures of dragons in order from fastest to slowest, watched videos about a Hungarian dance involving bubble sort, and demonstrated linear versus binary searches by organizing participants by height and determining the fastest way to find the girl who was exactly 5 feet tall. The girls learned that binary search is much more efficient than linear search!
After a snack break, we delved into the topic of machine learning itself, discussing artificial intelligence and neural networks. We played tic-tac-toe with a computer, whose playing strategy changed depending on which “player” we selected: they could play offensively, defensively, both, randomly, or use machine learning. The girls learned that the AI that used machine learning or both offensive and defensive playing almost always won, unless it was playing against another player using the same strategy. Finally, we talked about neural networks and used our newfound knowledge to play a modified version of tic-tac-toe. Overall, the girls had a lot of fun, adding that they “will probably go to other workshops in the future.”
The Magic of Numbers Workshop
At the Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library on October 8th, we hosted our number theory workshop! Attended by 20 girls, and led by Selene Wang, we explored concepts such as prime factorization, least common multiple, and greatest common denominator. We began with an introduction to number theory and our woman in STEM role model for this workshop, Julia Robinson. One participant commented, “cubing numbers was interesting because I haven’t learned it in school before”. After discussing prime numbers, we kicked off our first activity: the Sieve of Eratosthenes. Participants used the sieve to find all the prime numbers between 1 and 100. After trying to find one, the girls also discovered that there is no formula to generate prime numbers!
On September 17th, 2022, for our second workshop of the year, we had 48 girls learn all about chemistry! Led by Grace Sun at the College-Rolando Library, this workshop discussed topics such as the different types of chemistry, female role models in chemistry, and how chemistry is used in daily life. Participants also explored atoms, molecules, and elements, ending this part of the workshop with a fun chemistry trivia! One girl commented, “I liked learning about neutrons because I didn’t know atoms had three parts.”
On August 27th, for our first workshop of the year, we explored Scratch Programming at the Mission Valley Library. Led by Mia Gover and Audrey Lin, at this workshop, girls in grades 3-5 learned about the history of programming, solved challenges using Scratch blocks, and created their own game! We also discussed debugging and the real-life applications of programming.
At the end of the workshop, the girls did a gallery walk, where they were able to play each others’ newly-created games. One participant reported, “it was fun and amazing to learn to code, especially with other people.” Another said that “the best part was getting to make our own games.” One of the fan-favorites was “The Fairy and the Witch,” a dialogue-based story about a fairy defeating a witch with a lightning strike!
Don’t forget to join us for the next workshop on Chemistry (for grades 3-8) at the College-Rolando Library, on September 17th!
On December 18, 2021, the All Girls STEM Society partnered with The Clueless, a local FTC Robotics Team, to bring a robotics workshop to the Mission Valley Library! The girls learned about how motors, sensors, and code all work together to create so many kinds of robots for so many applications.