It was so cool to see the middle school aged girls on Zoom raise their hands when the lead instructor for the TechGirlz Python Programming workshop posed that question at the end of the workshop.
A few Saturdays ago I had an AWESOME time being a teaching assistant during the Python Programming workshop.
Taken from TechGirlz About Us page: TechGirlz is a nonprofit program of Creating IT Futures, a 501(c)3 nonprofit of CompTIA, that inspires middle school girls to explore the possibilities of technology to empower their future careers. TechGirlz is accomplishing its mission through the creation of free, fun, interactive “TechShopz” led by industry professionals, community leaders, and students.
TechGirlz is one of the organizations with which I volunteer. I have been volunteering with them for about 4yrs. I had the pleasure of co-creating and running an IBM Design Thinking Workshop, co-leading a BB-8 Internet of Things workshop, and teaching the girls about project management.
To get the girls engaged, we used the Zoom Whiteboard to have them draw their favorite animal or spirit animal. I didn’t have a spirit animal so I drew a favorite animal. We then had the girls volunteer to share why it was their favorite animal. This is instilling presentation skills, which is invaluable skill they will use throughout their lifetime.
I chose the elephant because I recently learned in a sermon at my church, Elevation Church, that when an elephant gives birth, is weak, injured or very young, the strongest members of the herd form a circle of protection. Picture that the TechGirlz volunteers circling these young girls so they can gain the knowledge they need to make their mark in the tech world.
What does PB&J have to do with Python?
We know that computers need humans to feed them instructions in order for them to do something. Well using the example of the instructions for making a PB&J sandwich is what we used to drive home the concept of algorithms. These girls were on it! It was amazing to see how their minds worked.
Using a browser-based all purpose coding tool called Trinket, the girls learned the following:
- Functions: Print and Input
- Data types: Strings, Integers, Floats and Booleans
The girls used all the information they learned above to create a numbers guessing game.
Before the workshop began one of the girls mentioned that her brothers use Python. Now thanks to this TechGirlz workshop she can say she uses it too!
If you would like to volunteer and/or donate to TechGirlz just go to TechGirlz.org for more information. Please post your comments about your experience with volunteering with TechGirlz or any other organization that is empowering and equipping the next generation of technologists.