Eight weeks can go by quickly when you are having fun learning. The twelve girls enrolled in Two Rivers Gallery’s Coding for Girls have now finished their classes and are ready to strike out on their own into the wonderful world of computer programming.
During their eight weeks at the PG Public Library’s SkyLab, the girls learned how to create games and characters using block-based programming, where blocks of code fit together like puzzle pieces and create programs that make lights blink, characters move, and artificial intelligences compete with humans in the game of Pong.
The girls learned quickly, as we mentioned in our October 26th post. By the second lesson, they were creating spaceship games where they could move their rockets around the screen and shoot projectiles at moving targets. In the week before Halloween, the girls created games where the players had to dodge onscreen ghosts and collect candy from houses. By lesson six, they created a game of Pong, which required them to create a simple artificial intelligence, balls that bounce and a scoreboard to keep score!
As they progressed through the lessons, the girls learned how important math is for computer programming. They started with learning negative numbers and moved to decimals, grids and angles (for bounce trajectories in the Pong game). They also learned that computer programs do exactly what the programmer tells them to do – and that sometimes meant trouble-shooting what they had programmed so they can create the action on the screen they really wanted. One whole lesson was actually devoted to trouble-shooting, as it is a skill as important to learn as writing programs. The girls often worked collaboratively in that lesson to debug programs they were given by Lakeysha.
Reviews by the girls and parents were positive, and many of the girls told me they plan to continue with coding and computers after this class. They were very excited to have learned so much and have already begun to share what they’ve learned with their friends and family.
Two Rivers Gallery would like to thank the Women's Enterprise Centre, Catalyst for Growth and Status of Women Canada for their financial support for this program. We’d also like to thank the Prince George Public Library, Bob Harkins Branch, for the use of the SkyLab over those eight weeks, and Lakeysha O’Neill from Digital Umbrella Creative for coming on board as an instructor and role model for the girls.
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