Category Archives: Clubs and Camps

I feel like I can do anything with this pin on! – CS Honor Society

copy-of-cshscrestc

 

I am so proud to have inducted 17 students into the Powhatan High School Computer Science Honor Society!  These students have exceeded the academic requirements and have committed to serve their community by promoting computer science education!

Buffie Holley from Albemarle High School in Charlottesville Virginia is the project lead for this CodeVA founded honor society. Buffie and CodeVA have made this process easy and seamless. For more information, go to the CodeVA  honor society page. On this page, you will find the VA CS Honor Society Constitution, a template for the charter by laws, and the charter application.

I am so excited to honor my students that have worked hard supporting computer science education in our county. This has proved to be a great way to celebrate their accomplishments and passion.

After I handed out the initiation pins to my students, one of my female students said “I feel like I can do anything with this pin on!”.

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Weekly Roundup – Computer Science Surfing

Some Computer Science websites I’ve been looking at this week:

  • Little Bits these kits let you build circuits. They snap together with magnets. When we cover conditionals in the CS Principles class we also do logic gates and circuits. This could be a fun way to visualize this.

  • Ted Talk Andrew Blum. What is the Internet Really? We’re just finishing up our Internet unit in CS Principles. Monday is our last day before break and this will be a great way to finish up the whole thing.
  • While you are at it you should really read his book: Tubes . My fantasy field trip at this point is to go to Northern VA and visit the parking garage he mentions that housed the early pieces of the Internet. Then we’d have ice cream, because sometimes that’s what it takes to make a parking garage exciting. Here is my review of the book.
  • Ada Lovelace Video – Her birthday was on Monday. This video is the best explanation I have found about why she matters. The kids seemed to like it to. It is always a good sign when they 1) watch the video without trying to sneak in a round of Bloons Tower Defense and 2) ask questions after it is done. Score on both counts.
  • Also on Monday Google did a Doodle of Ada. As always, Google helps make it relevant.
  • The rest of the video series also looks great – covers everyone from Alan Turing to Hedy Lamarr.
  • Also: Good article about Facebook Interns on why CS is a good choice.
  • Also, if you are feeling crafty – This site has templates for Star Wars snowflakes.
Created by Rebecca Dovi
I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Simon Says – Recursion!

Spotted this today – they are reissuing Simon Says. The interface reminds me a lot of the Siftables that were designed at MIT.
Not only are these just plain awesome, the old Simon Says game is a great way t teach the concept of recursion. Can you say QUEUE?
 
Created by Rebecca Dovi
I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Shopping List – Painting Electric Circuits

This has gotten to be a bit of an obsession over the past few days. Using paint to create electric circuits.

Seriously, it is all I can think about. I am making a lot of  “this sweater is OK, but it would be awesomer with some LED light bulbs” statements that make my children hover between interest and a deep tween embarrassment that only mothers can induce.

It started with a CNN article on Pens that can be used to draw circuits. I know, great idea.

Except they are from the UK, and kind of pricey (12 pounds which is about $18 today). And according to my sources on twitter the conductivity isn’t great once it is dried over long distances. That said the site has some nice classroom kits that include thumbtack batteries. There has been a hollow empty void in my life that is filled now that I know thumbtack batteries exist – you know what I mean?

Also according to the website these pens are available in Radio Shack, so good for those of us stateside.

Think Geek Conductive Paint

For about $30 you can get a 50ml tub of paint from Think Geek. I have visions of renumbering the computers in my lab using this …possibilities are endless.

This appears to be the same company, so it is probably the same stuff that is in the pens, but it is a better price point for just the paint.

I also found a video describing how to make copper based conductive paint. Sounds fun, but given my overall free time…I might just head to Radio Shack.

MIT also has some resources listed:

One of the main reasons I am interested is the application for wearable electronics. I am curious to see if the paint can be used to attach conductive thread to the power source. I’ll let you all know if it works.

Need more inspiration? Here is a video of interactive wallpaper made with conductive paint. It plays music.

We do some very simple circuits and logic gates in the APCS Principles class suing play-doh. The play-doh works well because it can be changed and experimented with very easily, but the stuff dries out so nothing can be taken home. This paint would make a nice extension, especially if they can make something to take home. Prototype in play-doh then paint for permanent.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Second Semester Looms

So now that we are past the holiday rush, and exams are done, I am trying to pace out second semester. I have boon looking to a couple of places for inspiration.

Books:

Blogs:
I have found a wealth of ideas through elementary themed blogs – who knew! My favorite so far is using a oil pan from autoZone ($10) for a large magnetic wall board.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Robots in Space

MIT and NASA team up in a competition to program robotic spheres that will compete aboard the International Space Station.

Created by Rebecca Dovi
I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Printing – in 3D

Our new 3-D Printer:

Bits and Pieces

The computer club kids have been working all year to raise the money for our new 3-D Printer. They bought it from Printrbot. They offer a $150 teacher discount, which helps.

Hopefully it starts looking like this by Friday:

I have been working over the past year to build the lab into a hacker space. We have programmable sewing machines, screen printer, button maker and now the printer. It has created a lot of excitement around the computer science program here and brings a lot of kids into the lab.

Is this computer science? Maybe. Computer Science folks never question having robots in the lab, and frankly the amount of “coding” that goes into the embroidery sewing machine or the other stuff is about the same as many simple robots like the Finch (with Snap).

For me it builds a culture of creating and crafting, with coding at the core, and that is enough.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Paper Robots

We’re doing a little crafting in the lab today.

(Source: Next to Nicx)

My CS Principles kids are plugging away on their Internet Portfolio papers. They have chosen some very interesting problems to write about. We are also doing the CSS section of Code Academy. My plan is for them to do a web page about thier paper to present their solutions.

A few of  the kids have gotten ahead. On the paper, and the CSS, they even have done all of the Ruby stuff in Code Academy.

So we’re making paper robots.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Official Certificates

Ok, this is cracking me up:

This site lets you create “official” certificates, Mad-Libs style. It is the Bureau of Communication.

This has potential for the Intro to CS class. We’re going to be doing String manipulation soon and this could make for a fun start.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.

Makerbot Lecture – 3D Printing with David Wells

One of the nice things about all this crazy travel this summer is I have gotten to do and see some things that are just not available in Richmond, VA. Last night I got to go to the Makerbot store in NYC to hear a talk about 3-D Printing and Maker spaces.

3-D Printing Filament

The speaker was David Wells from the New York Hall of Science. He is the Manager of Creative Making & Learning – I know, best job title ever.

Last year my computer club’s project was 3-D printing. They fund-raised and bought a PrintrBot tight at the end of the year. I am so excited to see where this takes us next year.

The presentation was a great overview of 3-D printing, some of the recent changes and how to incorporate it into maker spaces. One of the general themes was that engagement with museums tapers off as kids hit their teen years, and these maker spaces are a great way to bring them back in.

Several of the folks working at the Makerspace for the summer were there to show off what they were working on. They are part of Maker Corps Education program. They are officially called explainers, which I might borrow for when we do recruitment in the lab.

Oh, and if you are in the neighborhood NYSCI is the host of the Maker Faire NY this fall on Sept 21 – 22. If you haven’t been to one you must go. Really – it’s your homework. Find a Maker Faire near you and get to it. I got to do the one at the Henry Ford Museum last summer in Detroit and it was amazing.

Resources:

And if you need a story to help inspire you to the power of 3-D printing: 3-D Printer Brings Dexterity To Children With No Fingers.

Created by Rebecca Dovi

I have spent the last 18 years teaching math and computer science at Powhatan High School in Powhatan Virginia. I currently teach Algebra 2, Exploring Computer Science/Game Design, and AP Computer Science. I also facilitate a Middle School Tech Club, Game Design and Tech Divas Summer Camps.