Coding Activities Inspire Girls in STEM

The Ellis Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools participated in coding activities on April 11, to promote, encourage, and inspire Ellis girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). According to the National Science Foundation, women makeup 46 percent of the total workforce but hold only 24 percent of jobs (and women of color hold only 11 percent) in technical fields. To do our part to flip that statistic, The Ellis School is committed to fostering confidence and competence in STEM-fields by introducing all of our students to STEM early and often through collaborative learning, classroom lessons, and interdisciplinary experiences.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Sasha as she shared what motivates her to speak to schools around the country about STEM. “I wrote Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code because I saw the lack of girls and minorities in STEM and I wanted to show girls that they too can be in this field, just like me. My advice for all girls is don’t give up and stick with it!”

In the afternoon, students partnered with girls in different divisions, faculty, and staff for a family group session, “Love to Code.” The groups discussed whether it would be advantageous for people to always follow directions—like a computer does with code—and tested the idea for themselves by drawing pictures based off only a description from a Lower School student. For the second activity, groups learned how computers use ASCII codes to translate information using 1’s and 0’s, also known as binary codes. Everyone then made their very own binary bracelet using translation cards and beads in green and white that represented the numbers.

Computer science education at Ellis begins in the Lower School when students become problem solvers and creators of their own content. While they make podcasts, videos, and write blogs, students learn how to use technology to enrich and enhance their own learning. In the Middle School, grades 5 and 6 take required computer science classes and may chose to take a mobile robotics or iOS apps design elective where they learn to program robots and build apps in grades 7 and 8. Girls are also introduced to FIRST LEGO League Robotics and participate in the Future City engineering competition, where they compete and collaborate as a team. In the summer, The Ellis School offers Computer Science with Impact! coding camp for girls entering grades 5 through 9. In the Upper School, students are challenged to develop a deeper understanding of programming, technology, and digital citizenship. Whether they’re in AP Computer Science or competing with the Girls of Steel robotics team offered through Carnegie Mellon University, Upper School students are prepared and empowered to contribute to today’s increasingly interconnected world through computer science.

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