#GirlsCanCode - World Thinking Day 2017

Posted by   rachael on    April 1, 2017

 #GirlsCanCode #WTD2017 

On Saturday 18th February members of Carrick South Division assembled outside of The Exchange on Tremough Campus, Penryn for a World Thinking Day event with a difference. The event was ran by Staff and students from The Games Academy, Falmouth University, and Eve Scott, Penryn's District Commissioner had been the events organiser for the Girlguiding side of it. The event followed the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts theme of #LetsGrow and hinged on the idea that there is a possibility that code could be used to help grow Guiding. The activities the girls took part in enabled them to explore code at an age appropriate level, and showed the possibilities that computer programming could offer.

The morning kicked off with a brief overview of three female role models in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM), looking particularly at those with a computing background: Ada Lovelace who is commonly known as the first programmer; Grace Hopper who is often referred to as the Grandmother of the Common Business-Oriented Language (CBOL), after she lead the team who developed it; and Margaret Hamilton who lead the software development team for Apollo 11's on board computer system and helped to put men on the moon. We then trsz_1rsz_metamakers_app2.jpgook a leap forward to today to look at how computer programming is helping to the change the world we live in and planted the idea that code can help to grow guiding.

By mid-morning all of the girls had gone to explore how to use and work with code.

Rainbows started by exploring how a Makey Makey kit can be used with Play-doh to turn it into a working controller to control a sprite character on their Scratch projects (a free programming language online). After lunch they turned their hands to some CS unplugged where the girls switched from computers to colouring crayons, to do some colouring by numbers. This particular activity demonstrated how computers store drawings, photographs and pictures by numbers only, and how a grid, when coloured in by counting can create a recognisable image.


Brownies took part in 2 workshops during the day, one of which was to create an interactive story or animation in Scratch about what they love about being a Brownie and why other girls should join too. There were some fantastic animations being created, with close attention to detail being given to their sprites to match Brownie and Guide uniforms, many which mentioned a few of the fun activities that they have experienced, such as: sleepovers; cooking; theatre and most of all making friends. The other workshop was a game jam session with Those MetaMakers Institute which is a group of researchers who all have an interest in computational creativity research. One of their projects that they had been working on was a game for the app market called 'Let it Snow'. In this workshop the girls worked in small groups to test out the game, with the aim of trying to beat the AI (Artificial Intelligence) and then had the opportunity to create their own levels and rules for the game.

Guides primarily had a play around with some of Lego Mindstorms robots for the day. In the morning they got into groups, and each group had a robot to customise and build from the spare parts available. In the afternoon they then moved onto making their robot move through the use of code, and had to try to complete one of the space missions to hook to objects and move them to a new location. There was a lot of trial and error as most robots moved forwards but either stopped too short of the goal before turning or ran over the objects they were meant to be picking up. There were many laughs during the process, and ultimately all the girls and Leaders too enjoyed playing with Lego and seeing their thought processes being put into action.

A small number of Guides had the opportunity to try out The Games Academy Virtual Reality kit. In this workshop the girls had the chance to try the VR headset on and experience moving around within a virtual reality world. With the use of the hand held controllers the girls were able to draw or paint something within their virtual reality world. The world that they could see and were making an impact on was streamed to a television for the rest of the group to watch.

At the end of the day, which had been long, and we were all tired, it was evident that everyone had enjoyed the exploring something different for their World Thinking Day celebrations. 
Eve Scott