Think Like a Programmer – Junior
The Junior Think Like a Programmer Journey is focused on Computational Thinking and Algorithms. This project set uses some offline and online activities to complete the Journey. For the online Activities we use a programming in a language called Scratch that many girls may have used in school.
The activities in this course help girls understand creating algorithms, using variables, conditional statements and using basic computing constructs: variables and conditionals. On this Journey, Juniors will do hands-on activities to ...
- Create an algorithm to explain how to do something
- Do the Code.org/Girl Scout functional Suncatcher activity to understand how variables work
- Play a game to learn about Conditionals
- Use variables in a story
- Write a program using conditionals and variables that takes user input and makes a custom ordered coffee or sandwich.
- Prepare for a Take Action Project
- Complete a Take Action Project
Items 1 and 2 are completed at a meeting before Boolean Girl arrives. Instructions for these activities are provided below. Activity 7 is completed by the troop in follow on meetings.
Completing these activities not only helps girls earn their journey badge, it helps them understand how a computer works to complete the learning objectives from the Computer Science Teachers Association, see below. While more practice is required to achieve all the recommendations for a fifth grader, this short Boolean Girl Scout activity plan introduces key concepts and empowers the girls to pursue additional learning through camps, clubs or online using resources like Boolean University.
Meeting Before Boolean Girl Arrives
At a meeting before the Boolean Girl team arrives, watch this video and complete this short activity. Prepare for this activity by watching the video: code.org/girlscouts/FunctionalSuncatchers/DemoVideo
Review the Teacher instructions from code.org for the Functional Sun Catcher. https://code.org/curriculum/course3/4/Teacher
For the snacks activity (responsibility of the troop)
- Bowls or cups
- Option 1: Various small snacks like crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc. that could go into trail mix.
- Option 2: Crackers, spreads, and toppings to create cracker bite snacks.
- Option 3: Celery, spreads, and topping to create Ants on a Log.
For each functional suncatcher (Ask Boolean Girl for these supplies):
- One foot of string, thread, or fishing line
- 2-4 beads
- 2-4 other accessories (buttons, hoops, spacers)
- One special bead, prism, button, or girl-made sun charm
- Functional Suncatcher Worksheets
Download and print the Take Action Project guidance
Arrival Activity: Snack Algorithms
(Note to Volunteers: For this activity, girls will create algorithms for snacks. We’ve provided several options, so please choose one or another alternative that works for your girls’ dietary restrictions.)
Prior to girls arriving, organize the snacks by type into different bowls/cups. Welcome Juniors, and have them create an algorithm for their ultimate snack bite.
SAY: What’s your favorite type of snack? What ingredients taste good together?
The ingredients for your snack are in these bowls. Choose the ingredients you like to create your own personal snack. Then write an algorithm so others can make it, too.
For example, I like to take a cracker (that's step one), put a piece of cheese on it (that's step 2), then top it with a slice of cucumber (that's step three). If you use my algorithm, I guarantee you'll have a tasty snack!
Computer Science Standards
Activity Two : Functional Sun Catcher (Code.Org)
Lesson time: 20 Minutes Basic lesson time includes activity only. Introductory and Wrap-Up suggestions can be used to delve deeper when time allows.
Useful links for this exercise from Code.org
Plan for the Take Action Project
Follow the Girl Scout’ guidance on starting the Take action planning process. Download the excerpt here.
Second Meeting, With Boolean Girl
Make sure Troop leaders have worksheets from prior exercises: Functional Sun Catcher and Snack Instructions.
Make sure you have coordinated with Boolean Girl. Boolean Girl instructor(s) will bring the right number of computers, worksheets, and all supplies.
- A Boolean Box Computer kit per girl or pair of girls
- If game cards or PDF for use with a TV or projector
(projector or big screen TV if available)
- Boolean Box set up cards
- My instructions for coffee (several copies to share in meeting)
- Coffee Shop instructions.
- Survey forms, USB drives, What’s next cards
Introduce yourself tell the girls about you including things like:
- College and degree type/ profession
- Where you grew up
- Why you are doing this
- If you were a Girl Scout make sure you share that
Ask the girls to introduce themselves and share something:
- Favorite movie
- Favorite color
- Best Girl Scout badge they earned
Who knows what we are going to do today?
Review agenda to complete all the activities for the Think Like a Programmer Badge
- First a short review of last meeting
- Play one more short game to learn about conditional statements
- Build our computers - show the Boolean Box. Ask if any of the girls have been to a Boolean Girl event / coded before / etc.
- Build a program using what we’ve learned about functions, conditionals, algorithms that makes a custom coffee or ice cream sundae.
- Talk about your Take Action Project
Review what we did at the last meeting.
Functional SunCatcher Discussion
Did you all finish the Functional Suncatchers? Does anyone have theirs?
What did you learn in that activity? Does anyone have their worksheets? The girls should have learned about functions and variables. Taking the algorithm bead, knot, bead, knot, spacer, knot, bead, knot, bead, knot, spacer, knot, special charm, special knot and used functions to simplify it.
F1 = bead, knot, bead, knot, spacer, knot,
F2 = special charm, special knot
Algorithm = F1, F1, F2
The variable part of this activity is that bead, spacer and charm are just placeholders for things the girls choose for their suncatcher.
This meeting includes the following vocabulary:
Computational Thinking—the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out.
Algorithm—a list of steps that you can follow to finish a task.
Program—instructions (or an algorithm) that can be understood and followed by a machine
See the Junior Think Like a Programmer Journey Glossary for more vocabulary and examples
Activity One : Play the If Game
Play the IF game. Use the projector or cards to play. If the troop is large and you have multiple instructors break the class into smaller groups.
How the game works.
· The students are all sprites
· I’ll show an if statement, if it is true, you have to do it.
|How an If command works
• Read the If statement
• If it’s TRUE, the next command happens.
• If it’s FALSE, nothing happens
|Start the game|
If Game Download
Activity Two : Build the Computer
Pass out the Boolean Box computer kits and explore the contents.
Use the attached PDF file to learn about and build the computer.
Once set up, the computer looks like this.
Activity Three: Create a program with a conditional and variables
Last meeting you created instructions (an Algorithm) to make a snack. Let's share some of those.
Here are my instructions for making a coffee:
Pick your cup type (large or Small)
If large, show large cup
If small show small cup
Add the coffee
Ask: Do you want sugar?
If yes, get sugar
Poor into cup
Put sugar away
Add to list of ingredients
Ask: Do you want cream?
If yes, get CREAM
Poor into cup
Put CREAM away in frig
Add to list of ingredients
Ask: Do you want Chocolate?
If yes, get chocolate
Poor into cup
Put chocolate away
Add to list of ingredients
Ask: Do you want Caramel?
If yes, get Caramel
Poor into cup
Put Caramel away
Add to list of ingredients
Ask, Could we create functions to simplify this?
YES - functions for the cup sizes and for each ingredient.
Do we need any conditionals in this set of instructions?
Yes, for each question
Build the Coffee Shop or get creative and build an Ice Cream Shop
What the girls need to know:
A function is called with the broadcast block. Each function is already created in the sample program. The 6 function calls:
To ask a question, use the Ask block
Use a conditional to evaluate the answer and do something.
Hand out the worksheets. Let the girls know the name of the file to open usually Coffee maker.sb.
Review the starting stack of code. Note the question (ASK) and conditional if answer = S. Ask what comes next?
Ask the girls: This works if you answer S, what happens if you answer L?
Answer: You need code like this:
Let the girls work on this.
Here is one solution:
Activity Four : Finish the Journey, Your Take Action Project
At this point the troop leaders should rejoin the meeting to start the transition to the last leg of the journey that will occur at future meetings.
Remind the girls, they are not finished yet. According to the Girl Scout guidance, Juniors earn two awards on completing this Journey:
Think Like a Programmer award
Take Action award
However to get the awards you need to complete a Take Action project. Instead of repeating all the guidance provided by the Girl Scouts, what follows are the most critical points and a list of ideas for projects.
“Take Action encourages girls to develop a project that is sustainable. That means that the problem continues to be addressed, even after the project is over. Sustainability simply means coming up with a solution that lasts.”
Ideas for take action project include:
Issue: Some girls think computer science is hard or boring or just for boys.
Solution: Educate and inspire others. Create a Boolean Girl STEM club at your school. Contact Boolean Girl for help with this. Talk to a teacher or parent that might want to lead the club.
Issue: Not all kids have access to computers and people that can help them learn how to code.
Solution: Educate and Inspire others by reaching out to a school that may have many girls from low income families. Make a video or a presentation for the PTA about the importance of after- school learning. Find some useful facts that will help the PTA understand the value of starting a coding club. Here is one to start: By the time they reach sixth grade, middle-income children have spent 6,000 more hours learning than their lower-income peers, primarily due to differences in afterschool and summer learning opportunities. “The 6,000-Hour Learning Gap.” ExpandED Schools. October 30, 2013. https://www.expandedschools.org/policy-documents/6000-hour-learning-gap#sthash.krllApZG.dpbs.
Solution: Educate and inspire others. Create a Boolean Girl STEM club at a neighboring Title One school. Find a sponsor for the club so the participants can join the club for free. Contact Boolean Girl for help with this. Talk to a teacher or parent that might want to lead the club.
Issue: Kids want to learn how to code at home but parents are afraid that they can’t help their kids because they don’t know how to code. Did you know that 72 percent of parents agreed that their child’s better understanding of technology made it difficult for them to help their kids learn.
Solution: Do a Show and Tell for parents that demonstrates how easy it is to code in Scratch.
Issue: Parents are worried about screen time...72 percent of parents reported having taken steps to limit their child’s screen time. Limiting screen time can also mean limiting opportunities to learn useful skills like coding.
Solution: GET CREATIVE, make a video or slideshow that shows how learning to code not only teaches kids to program but it allows them to get creative adding music, animation and story telling to the program they create. Boolean Girl will post the video for you on our site. Get the school to send links to the video to parents at your school.
Issue: Not everyone knows about women who changed the world using their knowledge of computer science.
Solution: Educate and inspire others.Research the “hidden figures” in your community.They might be women who have helped shape history, like those portrayed in the movieHidden Figures. Or you might want to profile computer science teachers who have made a difference by mentoring and encouraging girls. You could create a display about their accomplishments for a library or community center or make a video about them and show it at schoo
Need more ideas?Check outGirls Changing the World on the GSUSA website. Girls post their Take Action andBronze/Silver/Gold Award projects on this site. You can search by project topic or grade level.(And after the troop has done their project, please post it so they can inspire other girls!)