- Author: Fiona Reyes
- Author: Ethan Auyeung
- Author: Megna Nayar
For the second year in a row, the Computer Science Pathway Team of the University of California Cooperative Extension's (UCCE) 4-H Youth Development Program of Santa Clara County held an event for National Youth Science Day (NYSD). The team's event took place on Sunday, October 20th at Google's campus in Sunnyvale. The event was open to 4-H'ers and the public. Thirty-five youth participated in this NYSD event.
Each youth participated in three sessions, one for each of the Game Changers computer science activities created by Google and West Virginia Extension Service for NYSD. The activities were a mix of unplugged and plugged activities that involved running around playing games, completing puzzles, working with others, sharing your passions, and more. The teens from the Computer Science Pathway team had a big part in organizing the event and taught all sessions. They were assisted by the UCCE Santa Clara County 4-H Youth Development office, adult volunteers, and Google volunteers.
Fiona Reyes (17) and Omar Khan (13) led the session for Hack Your Harvest, an unplugged activity with connections to agriculture that involves learning about efficiency and programming through puzzles.
Ethan Auyeung (16) led the session on an activity called Pitch your Passion that focused on teaching participants how to advocate for their passions with the help of computer science. This was a plugged activity where children experimented with Scratch, an online program where users are introduced to the world of coding.
Megna Nayar (14) led the Program Your Playground activity where youth learned about the computational thinking concept of conditionals, statements that include “if”, “then”, and “else” and are used in real life and in computer programming to answer a question. Next, youth participants worked in teams to create their own versions of conditional tag and learned how computer science can help youth be more active and healthier and be fun.
Participants received a “raffle ticket” throughout the event for participating or helping. At the end of the event, everyone gathered for raffle prizes and reflection. Many youth participants said that this event helped them realize that computer science wasn't just about sitting behind a computer and that it could be applied to many things. One young girl shared “I learned that computer science is not just typing on a computer.” Youth also expressed an interest in expanding their knowledge on computer science and Scratch. One boy shared “I like to program engineer stuff,” and another young girl stated; “I learned how to use Scratch. It is really fun!” Some youth were even interested in beginning their own projects at their 4-H clubs.
It was great for the Santa Clara County CS Pathway Team to hear all the positive feedback because that was one of the main goals of the event: to give youth exposure to computer science and to show its connections to the real world!
Many youth participants said that this event helped them realize that computer science wasn't just about sitting behind a computer and that it could be applied to many things.
- Author: Anna Regalado
- Author: Fe Moncloa
To celebrate the National Youth Science Day (NYSD) challenge in October, the 4-H Youth Development Program in Santa Clara County offered two peer teaching NYSD events, where teens taught younger youth physical activities and puzzles from Game Changers, a computational thinking curriculum created by Google and the West Virginia Extension Service. In education, computational thinking refers to problem solving processes involved in expressing solutions as a sequence of steps that can be carried out by a computer.
October 4th: NYSD at Escuela Popular
The first event was held on October 4th at Escuela Popular Dual Language Learning Academy in San Jose, California, thanks to a grant from National 4-H Council in partnership with Lockheed Martin.
In preparation for their event, 4th graders learned from Spanish-speaking teens, Hack Your Harvest, a puzzle where children learned the concepts of optimal efficiency to figure out the fastest way to take a tractor to the barn. The first few puzzles are relatively easy; they grow in complexity as obstacles are added, and children need to pick up lettuce as well. For the NYSD event, the 4th graders created their own puzzles to teach 5th graders. Concurrently, 5th graders learned Program Your Playground, a physical activity where children learn the use of conditional statements while developing multiple games of “tag” that also grew in complexity. The 5th graders created their own games to teach to the 4th graders.
On the day of the event, 71 fourth and fifth grade students engaged in peer teaching. They learned the intersection of technology with agriculture, and how computer science and computational thinking play an important role in linking the two. These students were mentored by 13 Teen Teachers.
While all activities were taught in Spanish, during implementation the Teen Teachers coached youth in two languages.
Through observation, participating students increased their science literacy and gained valuable skills in leadership, communication, and positive peer interaction. In the near future, Teen Teachers, or Maestros Jovenes will continue to expand youth's computational thinking concepts to cultivate their problem solving skills, and interest and skills in computer science.
We hope we can inspire youth to reach beyond what they thought they were capable of, and get to witness the amazing things they achieve when they do.
October 20th: NYSD at Google Complex
The second event was held on October 20th at the Google Complex in Sunnyvale, thanks to a grant from National 4-H in partnership with Google. To prepare for this event, four teens met weekly to plan the event. Each teen was in charge of teaching one of the NYSD activities. This event was open to the public. More than 50% of the participants were not already enrolled in 4-H.