Girls Who Code Challenge: Give the Gift of Code
Girls Who Code hosts a series of online challenges to grow girls’ skills and identities in computer science. This challenge invites you to inspire someone you know to try computer science.
Written by: Girls Who Code Curriculum Developer, Khevna Shah
As this year wraps up, take a look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you are a role model, whether or not you always feel like it. You don’t have to wait until you have a degree or two, develop expertise in a subject, or become a CEO before you can inspire someone else. You inspire all of us at Girls Who Code on a daily basis. Own it!
Today, your mission is to inspire someone in your life to fall in love with Computer Science. This could be a sibling, friend, family member, mentor, or anyone else you choose to guide on their own CS journey! Remember the three secret ingredients of every Girls Who Code program? More Than Code, Sisterhood, and Impact. Follow the steps below to see how you can use our secret ingredients to create an awesome Girls Who Code-y environment for someone else. Focus on how you can use their own passion to guide them on their coding adventure! Computer Science isn’t here to replace passions, it’s here to provide new ways to explore and express them.
It’s time to get started! It takes just a few key steps to set up.
Step 1: Who is the lucky person you’ll be teaching? Find out what they care about and use that as inspiration. Are they quirky or gregarious? Create a project that embodies their unique personality. Is everything a competition with them? Create a race and make sure their favorite turtle wins. Do they love music? Help them create their own songs with code.
Step 2: Embrace a growth mindset! Make sure your student knows that they’ll make mistakes and get stuck. All the time. And that’s the best part of computer science; failing until you figure it out. Computer Science is about more than code. It’s about developing their bravery and resiliency muscles.
Step 3: Create a supportive environment. Develop your own version of a sisterhood — model how to tackle a challenge, then let your student drive their own learning. Be their guide and their cheerleader. Encourage them to make mistakes and try things before you nudge them in the right direction. You are this person’s community for this project — give them the support and encouragement that they need!
After you are all set up, pick out a project to introduce them to Computer Science. Try out the different platforms to find something they love!
Option #1: Create Animations in Scratch
Scratch is a block-based coding language that makes creating animations really fun and easy! You can Animate a Word, Create a Holiday Card, Write a Story, and more. Check out lots of Scratch tutorials here: Scratch Tutorials.
Option #2: Make Drawings in Python using Trinket.io
Python is a text-based coding language often used for data science. The turtle library lets people use Python to make drawings. Try out the Getting Started Tutorial or Holiday Tree Challenge. Check out more Trinket.io tutorials here: Trinket.io Tutorials.
Unplugged Option: If the person you’re teaching doesn’t have internet or computer access, you can download/print our Women in Tech Lesson Plans to teach them Computational Thinking skills.
Now that you’ve inspired someone to learn about CS and gone through a tutorial or two, can you work together to solve a problem you see in the world using code?
Step 4: Go Beyond!
At Girls Who Code, our girls use computational thinking to brainstorm, design, and build solutions around social issues they care about like healthcare reform, racism, climate change, and more. CS is an incredibly powerful tool to create a positive impact on the world — whether it’s through spreading awareness, mobilizing communities, or visualizing data, you can begin to create the change that you want to see.
Tackling big social issues can be daunting. But like any CS problem, you can break down your ideas into bite-sized pieces. For instance, take an idea like, “I want to build awareness about women’s rights,” that some students decided to tackle: Women’s Rights Project. It could be broken into steps like creating one story about a role model, creating a design for their project, testing the design with some users, then coding part of the design one by one. You can check out more projects here: Girls Who Code Project Gallery.
We are so excited that you took the time to inspire and teach someone how to code! You’ve encouraged growth mindset by focusing on more than code, created your own sisterhood through guiding and cheerleading, and thought about the impact and value of CS to encourage persistence. Don’t forget to share your projects and passions with us! Let us know what you’re making by tweeting @girlswhocode.