The First Meeting of The Second Season

The first session of the Techsters 2016 Season began on Tuesday, January 12th 2016!

Right when everybody settled in, we decided to move straight into the activity.

 As we connected to Jessie Arora, Founder and CEO of Embark Labs, the members were enthusiastic to see what was coming next.

Mrs. Arora discussed a little about herself and what she’s doing. She described Embark Labs as “An education program that introduces elementary and middle school students to design and computational thinking in a hands-on, collaborative way. ” She also introduced the members to an activity that her team and herself built. It’s objective was to expose their students to the fundamentals of encoding and decoding.

On every table there was a set of cards. Each card was a different color, suit and number. The cards were also spaced in a certain way, to mean something. In this case the cards represented a math problem where the space was the equal sign, the red cards were negatives and the black ones were positive. However, the suit did not count! The members were fully involved and collaborating  with their peers, Mrs. Arora, Mr. Delgado (our principal), Mrs. Markmann (our advisor) and myself.

To wrap the members heads’ around why this activity connected to CS, the examples that were given were besides computers. Instead, we gave the examples of Ancient Egyptians with hieroglyphics, sign language or computer programming. These are all forms of communication which is exactly what coding is. Your way to control technology.

We also went over the concepts of encoding and decoding. I explained how encoding is essentially how the brain makes a memory. It takes what you witness and processes it to something that it can comprehend. However, decoding is the exact opposite. Its where we take the confusing information and change it into something that we can understand. This is what we practiced in the hands-on activity with the playing cards.

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At the end of the session, several members shared what they’ve done. We heard about everything from gaming to engineering! People also expressed what they’d like to get out of our second season. Some of the responses we got back were: Furthering programming knowledge, engineering with Raspberry Pi and just advancing their general knowledge about the innovative and rapidly growing STEAM field.

We were especially happy to see several girls at the meeting! Additionally, we thank the UMS Principal Mr. Delgado, our advisor Mrs. Markmann and our guest speaker Mrs. Arora for making this meeting the best that it could be! We continue to look forward to several successful meetings ahead! 🙂

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