Pizza meets programming

Girl Scout Troop 423 and the Darlington County Institute of Technology celebrated Computer Science Education Week by hosting a “Pizza and Programming” event.

Each year during Computer Science Education week, schools, organizations and individuals participate in “Hour of Code.”

First held in January 2013, Hour of Code can be held during any time of year, but is usually held the week of Dec. 9 in recognition of the birthday of Adm. Grace Murray Hopper, computing pioneer.

The purpose of Hour of Code is to introduce people to computer science.

The Darlington County Institute of Technology has a number of courses in computer science which is considered a non-traditional career choice for females.

In an effort to expose and encourage participation by female students, the Darlington County Institute of Technology teamed up with Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina to host Pizza and Programming – an Hour of Code event.

Approximately 30 female students from Darlington Middle School and Darlington High School gathered at the Darlington County Institute of Technology Dec. 5 to participate in the event.

Students attended three sessions.

The sessions were taught by Sandra White, Latrica Jackson, Jennifer Cooper and one of her tech club members.
White teaches Computer Programming, Web Design, Animation, Computer Service Repair and Advanced Computer Service Repair at DCIT. Jackson teaches Game Design, Entrepreneurship, Business Finance and Professional and Leadership Development at DCIT.

Cooper teaches Algebra II and PreCalculus at Darlington High School where she also serves as the Tech Club advisor.
Girls spent approximately 30 minutes in each room.

In addition to learning the basics of computer science, they were provided with an overview of future courses available for them at the Darlington County Institute of Technology.

Jackson introduced the girls to Game Design concepts through creating the game Catch the Clown.

According to Jackson, “The students were eager to learn how to create the game called ‘Catch the Clown,’ which is a little action game.

“What really amazed me was when an 8-year-old came in my class and created the game in less than 30 minutes.
“Each year, I look forward to working with the girls.”

While in White’s session, participants were introduced to mBlock, a graphical programming tool based on Scratch 2.0.
It allows users to read sensor values, control the output of hardware modules and quickly get started programming mBot.
They will test mBots in obstacle avoidance mode and in the line-following mode.

White said “being their teacher for a short period of time, I was amazed about how they were able to stay engaged while going through the exercises.

“If there were any girls who were not good at math or logic, I was not able to tell because they worked right through the activities.”

Cooper taught participants how to use software to create a keychain.

Aurelia Burgess, organizer of the event and troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 423, felt that it was important to open this and other Girl Scout events to girls in general so that middle and high school girls could see that the Girl Scouts have plenty to offer older girls.

She stated that “many girls see Girl Scouting as just for little girls in brownie uniforms who sell cookies.”

Girls each received a certificate for their participation in the event.

The event concluded with pizza and punch.

Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina and Darlington County Institute of Technology are making preparations to host “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” in February.

Further details will be made available closer to the date of the event.

Any girls interested in joining the Girls Scouts can contact Aurelia Burgess at aureliaburgess.ab@gmail.com or Benita Jacobs at benitajacobs@girlscoutsesc.org.

Author: Rachel Howell

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