Loudoun Students Attend DCFemTech Inspire
On February 22nd, 3 students from 2 Loudoun County high schools attended the DCFem Tech Inspire event in Washington DC. DCFemTech is a coalition of women leaders aimed at amplifying women in tech organizations, sharing resources, and bringing leaders together to close the gender gap. The yearly Inspire event is a celebration of the success of women in the DC tech community.
Blue Ridge Middle School Cyberpatriots
Blue Ridge Middle School’s Cyberpatriot teams had their first meeting this past week. The kids walked in with grins on their faces, and could hardly contain their enthusiasm as we explained the competition. They would forms teams of two to six students; and compete in a monthly, six-hour round to secure computer images. They were advised that their most important asset would be their ability to teach themselves the necessary skills.
First Computer Science Fair is a Success!
On September 17th, 2016, The Loudoun Computer Science Fair held our first annual Computer Science Fair at the Rust Library in Leesburg, VA. We had 2 classrooms going all day, teaching subjects like Scratch, Python, Ruby, Computer Art, and the Hour of Code curriculum. We also had exhibits from MakerSmiths, NovaLabs, LVHS graduates, Huzzah Hobbies, IMade3D, the Loudoun Valley STEM Club, and more. We also had 12 presentations throughout the day from Loudoun students and teachers, and a special presentation from VA delegate Tag Greason, who talked to us about Virginia House Bill 831, which adds Computer Science to Virginia’s Standards of Learning. Approximately 120 students attended the event.
2016 Cohort Meetings Three and Four
Our summer projects are well underway! At our last two meetings we learned to solder, modified a pair of expensive headphones to have a removable cord, and started building the display board for the CPUVille Z-80 computer kit. We talked about the logic of the display board and how the 74LS240 integrated circuit was used as a buffer to protect the amount of current on the processor bus, and to drive the lights on and off as the available signal on the processor lines change. We also used a breadboard to wire up a simple circuit with a 5v power supply, an LED, a resistor, and a capacitor in several circuits, discussed the difference in electrolytic vs. ceramic capacitors, and discussed the role of a ‘bypass capacitor’ when dealing with digidal logic represented with varying (analog) voltages.
Computational Thinking with Magic, the Gathering
The card game ‘Magic, the Gathering’ isn’t directly related to learning to code, but it is directly related to computational thinking; there is a lot to keep track of while playing the game that mimics modeling a running program in your head: the state of the game environment, your life, your opponents life, the cards in your hand, the value of your mana, the sequence of steps in each turn, etc. It’s no coincidence that plenty of programmers play the game.
The LCSI Summer 2016 Cohort
We had our first meeting for our summer activiies at the Purcellville Library on the evening of June 22nd. Fifteen students showed up for 4 hours of controlled chaos; most faces were our ‘usual suspects’ we’ve worked with for 2 years at Loudoun Valley High School, but there were several new faces from Computer Math, as well as one student who was post-AP from Woodgrove!
Working With Data Curriculum Tested at Loudoun Valley
What is an AP computer science student supposed to do after they take the AP exam? Traditionally, we finish the year with a spattering of topics including data structures and algorithms… This year, in cooperation with Mr. Rodney Snyder, his two AP computer science classes, and Loudoun Valley High School, we premiered two weeks of curriculum entitled “Working With Data”, where the students learned to parse CSV files, read JSON data from live web services, and design relational database schemas and SQL queries!
Planning for Summer Activities
Are you a rising Computer Science AP student, or a Computer Science student who just finished AP at Loudoun Valley or Woodgrove high schools? Looking for something extracurricular to do this summer? We’re having a summer organizational meeting at the Purcellville Library on June 22nd in the Robey Room..