View Full Version : Activities for middle school girls - women in computing day

January 26th, 2007, 04:17 PM
I'm a member of the Association for Women in Computing chapter at Virginia Tech. Every year we hold an event called Women in Computing Day where we invite 60-70 middle school girls to come to VT for a day of learning about technology. This year I'm one of the people in charge of the event and I want to make it hella cool for this ladies.

We have sessions such as: Hardware/Electronics, Programming/Robotics, Web Page Design, and Virtual Environments. The girls always like virtual environments because the CAVE we have here on campus is very cool, but I'd like to make the other sessions just as fun.

Have any of you ever participated in an event like this? Have any ideas that would be enjoyable for middle school girls?


January 27th, 2007, 06:18 PM
I was in a science olimpiad (different than fair, you compete) in high school and one year the nationals was close enough for us to get to go (the second year it was in like Washington :( ). Anyway, I was going to go to college for biology, so I decided to compete in biology.

But when I saw those people with robots... Man I wanted a robot... I think robots get pretty cool when you can make them play soccer. Obviously, not the project for a day camp, but that's what someone who knows nothing about robots thinks of them. Sure, walking on two feet is supposedly going to be the highlight of their acheivement. But I wanna see them play little games! :D

For real, though. If you have Web Design, please, please, have levels. There's a lot of people now who have taught themselves a lot of web design. One of the reasons I'm not going into that as a career, is if I wanted to go to college, I'd have to take some insanely easy classes on it. You would really bore some girls to tears. On the other hand, if some of the girls who thought web sites were cool but never tried got into higher webdesign, you'd scare them away.

To help girls realize they're not the only ones into tech, I would put them, like you are, into small groups, and then have them divide into groups of like 2-4 to work on a project. Maybe after playing a "get to know you game" with the larger group. That way they'd have to work nearly one-on-one with someone and it'd be very obvious that there are other people like themselves.

January 29th, 2007, 01:30 AM
I completely agree about the web design. Many girls have already taught themselves some html or have used programs like DreamWeaver before. I'm trying to think of some activities that would be appropriate for all levels.

Robots are most certainly cool. I'm looking into getting some lego mindstorms for the girls to mess with.

I also thought that at lunch time I could have a Wii and a DDR station set-up for them to play video games.

Another idea I had for Hardware/Electronics was to get some bread boards and have the girls complete some wiring things in groups of 2-4. I always thought those were fun to mess with.

Let me know if you think of any other ideas :)

January 29th, 2007, 01:37 AM
I think with all the talk about robots you need a Linux box or two running the console game robotfindskitten on a loop. You know, for a time killer in between other stuff. :)

January 30th, 2007, 05:37 AM
I think with all the talk about robots you need a Linux box or two running the console game robotfindskitten on a loop. You know, for a time killer in between other stuff. :)

Holy crap! It looks like there is a version of robotfindskitten for Palm OS which would be perfect. (I have a classroom set of palms we can use.)