Activities From Meetings

Here we’ll catch you up on what we have done in the Techsters meetings. If you couldn’t come to a meeting, or just forgot what to do, this is the place to be!

March 28th, 2018

To read about the LAST MEETING of Techsters 2018, check out this post!

March 14th, 2018

Happy Pi Day!! How much of Pi do you have memorized? Check out a video on our Instagram (@techsters_ums) to see one of our members show us what they’ve got!

Day 2 of our Robotics Adventures:

Today was COMPETITION DAY! Our board members had set up vigorous courses with tricky obstacles, with a certain amount of points that could be earned for each obstacle surpassed.

The winner will get cool SWAG from places like MLH and a surprise tech-gadget!

February 28th, 2018

Today was our kick-off day for our Robotics Adventures!


We used Lego EV3 Robots, Lego Mindstorms software, and self-built courses to start tinkering with Robotics.

The highlight was seeing the more advanced engineers help the beginners understand the main functionalities and logic to express their thoughts through the code, and make the robot do what they wanted!

 February 21st, 2018

Our 3rd and final JAVA session was today, and this is what we covered:

  1. We figured out how to gather and implement the user’s feedback through the Scanner statement:
    1. Scanner input = new Scanner(;
    2. System.out.println(“Enter the first number.”);
    3. int number1 = input.nextInt();
    4. System.out.println(“Enter the second number.”);
    5. int number2 = input.nextInt();
  1. We also combined everything we learned about variables, their values, and how to use differnt variables in situations like math equations!
  2. For example, we could do:
    1. int sumOfNums = num1 + num2;

Overall, we had a very enjoyable and successful three JAVA Workshops and we thank Ryan Cocuzzo, Montgomery High School Senior, for putting so much hard work into leading these interesting sessions. Thanks, Ryan!

February 14th, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To start off the session, we had a member talk about his really cool new tech-toy, the Holocube. With this gadget, you can use your phone to scan the surface of the Holocube face, and then you will have to use the phone to solve the puzzle on the cube. There are infinite possibilities for the puzzles, and they are SO MUCH FUN! Check out some pictures below:



Additionally, today, in our 2nd JAVA session we covered:

  1. Initializing instance variables with primitive data types (int, double, String, char, and boolean)
  2. Implementing the variables in math equations or printing statements using System.out.println(“text”);

February 7th, 2018

  1. Today we debuted our three-part JAVA coding workshop that will be lead by a Montgomery High School senior who took AP Computer Science A, whose name is Ryan Cocuzzo.
  2. Everybody grabbed a computer and opened up Eclipse, the IDE that we are using.
  3. We started with getting user input using Scanner in JAVA, and played around with different problem-solution pairs that we could use this feature in.


January 24th, 2018

  1. Today’s session was all about graphic design. Our guest speaker was Mrs. Lin.
  2. We started off by getting a presentation from Mrs. Lin about her work as a graphic designer. She taught us the basics to graphic design and how the system works.
  3. She ended off with pictures of logos that she had created for other companies like the Princeton Medical Center.
  4. We implemented what we learned from Ms. Lin by designing our new logos for Techsters 2018. There was a lot of artistic talent showcased today 🙂
  5. Later, when everybody had completed and submitted their designs on our Google Classroom page, we took a vote on the winning logo which is:


January 17th, 2018

  1. We played with unplugged activities today! One one side of a room, we did the famous ‘Is Your Paper Intelligent’ activity which you can read about here.
  2. On the other side of the room, we tested out coding activities on computers, putting the fundamentals learned in the Unplugged Activity to use.
  3. In our meeting, we managed our time so we were able to switch sides allowing for everybody to try both activities.

January 10th, 2018

  1. To read all about our first meeting of Techsters 2018, check out this blog post.

March 22nd, 2017

  1. We looked back at our 2017 season (and chomped on some pizza), which you can do too by reading this 🙂

March 8th, 2017

  1. On March 8th we began our session by reflecting on the most recent event: The Women at NASA Live Video Chat Session.
  2. When I asked for the members to put their hands up if they left the event inspired, everybody’s hands went up.
  3. From this we went around the room and shared our feedback about the events. The main comments that we got were:
  4. I thought that after hearing about what the audience thought, it would be a good idea to show them what went on in the backend for the past 5 months. Through this the members added their thoughts and asked questions.
  5. We also celebrated International Women’s Day by discussing what and who a Feminist actually is, and how males can be them too. We talked about how Feminism is simply the belief of men being equal to women, not one gender overpowering the other.
  6.  To wrap up the insightful meeting, we played a fun (and competitive) tech Kahoot that included fun trivia as well as Techsters fun facts.IMG_4505

March 1st, 2017

  • To read about our video chat with Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter, check this out!

February 22nd, 2017

  • For our 8th meeting, this is what we prepared.
  • The members were told about about two great opportunities regarding Women in STEAM, that are coming up.
    1. On Saturday, March 4th there will be a screening of the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap followed by a panel session at the Princeton Public Library on Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at 4pm. (Read about it here: CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap– Screening and Panel Session)
    2.  In conjunction with the MHS STEM Board and Techsters, MHS will be hosting  Women at NASA” panel session. On Monday, March 6th from 2:40pm to 4:30pm at Montgomery High School we will have an opportunity to talk to a panel of inspiring Women at NASA. They will share their experiences and will engage in a Q&A session. (MAKE SURE YOU PICK UP YOUR PERMISSION SLIPS FOR THE SHUTTLE FROM UMS TO MHS)
  • To prepare for these events, we did some research on our end. We wrote down our questions that we will get to ask at both events.
  • Simultaneously, we continued working on our Techsters 2017 t-shirt designs building off of the Techsters logo. These designs get printed on white t-shirts, so we have our own personalized club gear.
  • We are ready to get ourselves and our friends involved in the STEAM field by coming to these events coming up soon. You should too!

February 15th, 2017

  • The session kicked off with a demo of a member’s project, where he built Amazon’s Alexa, using the Raspberry Pi. This way, we get to discuss our out-of-school connections with tech, and inspire others to do the same.
  • Next, we split up the room into two parts:
    • One group was doing Unplugged Activities and the other was learning commands in Python (stemming off of our work with Raspberry Pis).
  • Unplugged Activities are games that teach fundamental programming concepts without using tech.
    • For example, we had the members decode combinations of cards that either made up words or equations. The members had to take the cards’ suits, colors and placement into consideration. Therefore, it taught them about algorithms and the critical thinking  that decoding real code, requires.
  • The other side of the room tried their hand at coding in Python. They covered printing strings, listing, and got the hang of some syntax!
  • The two activities worked hand in hand because by learning how to decode the cards, it was easier for the members to learn and code basic Python!


February 8th, 2017

  • We are half way through the season! Wow… already!! For our halfway mark meeting, we had the great opportunity of hearing from Mr. Brian Dragotto.
  • Mr. Dragotto is a TCNJ graduate and currently works at Meryll Lynch. During his time with us, he explained entrepreneurship, making his app, as well as setting and achieving goals.
  • The speaker session was very interactive, as it was an open conversation with Q&A throughout.
  • Mr. Dragotto made his points very relevant. He connected setting and achieving your goals to his experience of winning an international video gaming contest, earning him $250,000!
  • In response to our questions, he also shared how he balanced his school work and making an app while he was in college. One of his major suggestions was writing your goals on paper, and breaking them down into short-term, achievable goals.
  • With popular demand, Mr. Dragotto also shared his journey of making an app. One interesting technique that Mr. Dragotto (the CEO)  told his friend (the CTO), utilized other social media platforms to advertise their own.
  • We wrapped up the session with brainstorming some app ideas in groups of 3-4. Some great ideas were discussed, many relating back to wearable technology!
  • Thank you Mr. Brian Dragotto for sharing your experiences and helping us think about how we can achieve our long-term goals.


February 1st, 2017

  • During this meeting the members were exposed to another Art aspect of the STEAM field: Graphic Design.
  • First, we demoed how to use two platforms: Google Slides and Pixlr. Here are the steps to follow when using Google Slides:
    • For text: Add a text-box and enter your text and then take a screenshot of the box. Then replace your screenshot for the actual text-box. Finally, right click it, press rotate, and flip horizontally.
    • For the images: Simply right click it, press rotate, and flip horizontally.
  • Then we communicated that the objective for all the members was to add their own twist to the Techsters logo using the techniques that they just learned.
  • The members came up with some amazing designs, that we will print onto white cotton t-shirts.
  • Oh, and we also did the #MannequinChallenge.

January 25th, 2017

  • The third session brought both returning and new members who were all excited to learn about and get their hands on Raspberry Pis.
  • By setting up a portable projector linked to a Raspberry Pi with a HDMI cable, we were able to boot up the Pi for everybody to explore.


  • First, some of the hardware components needed to setup the Pi including the keyboard, mouse, power source, micro SD card and differences among the Pi models were explained.
  • The Raspberry Pi operating system named Raspbian was compared to Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, etc;
  • Then, we showed some of the programs that you can use right off the bat: Scratch, Minecraft and DuckDuckGo (Raspbian’s search engine).
  • We segued into terminal and demoing simple commands to navigate the Raspberry Pi such as ls, cd, cd .., sudo, mkdir newDir and rmdir oldDir. Members even got to try their hand at typing in commands themselves!


  • We also made files and using nano, a text-editor.
  • Also discussed and executed was the sudo command. We stressed the importance of permission, especially when using files that you haven’t created.
  • Finally, we separated into groups that broke into CanaKits that Techsters organized for club and school purposes, last season. The members explored the hardware and say where everything plugged in.


  • Stay involved to continue tinkering with our student-driven community for continued fun with Raspberry Pi and more tech!

January 18th, 2017

  • For the second meeting of the #Techsters2017 season a New York based cinematographer came to share her experiences in the field and got us all involved in storyboarding our first plot-line! Her name is Ms. Sarah Pierpont.
  • We started off the session with a brief introduction and then, went straight into her “reel” ( A reel is a short movie that is used to portray what a cinematographer’s style. In literal terms, it is a roll of film that can only capture short clips per reel.)
  • She also introduced Space Minnow, where she works now.
  • Then, we browsed through some of her other pieces while simultaneously having a conversation between Ms. Sarah and us!
  • Then, we discussed how we could play around with exposure by toggling our ISO, Shutter and Aperture levels. Here’s a great diagram that Ms. Sarah used to explain to us (The star is the exposure that you will get):IMG_3847.JPG
  • From there, we used the last portion of the meeting to use all that we learned to try our hand at storyboarding. As you can see, we really set the sad mood for this pickle 🙂


  • Come join us after school on January 25th and throughout the rest of the season for more engaging activities and to learn from experts just like Ms. Sarah Pierpont!

January 11th, 2017

The first session of #Techsters2017 and information about the upcoming meeting is described in depth in this post. Check it out and watch this space for meeting recaps and key points, throughout the season.

March 22nd, 2016

The Last Meeting of The 2016 Season tells (and shows) you how we wrapped up and some future steps!

March 15th, 2016

  • Today we invited Ms Hargett, CEO of Princeton Tiger Tech, to join us
  • She kicked off the session with some captivating and engaging phone trivia

Did you know that the first smartphone ever created was “Simon” by IBM in 1994!

  • Before taking an iPhone apart, we received handy diagrams describing the elements of a smartphone
  • Then we got into the super interesting stuff, the iPhone
  • Ms Hargett began to take it apart and stuck the components (even the tiniest screws) on a magnetic mat, so that nothing would go missing
  • As she did this, she dropped in some disturbing facts, that included: Keeping a plug in your socket for 24 hours, when you aren’t charging anything, wastes the amount of energy that would power 28,000 homes :-0
  • Ms Hargett also enlightened us with the fact that soaking your phone in rice doesn’t accomplish anything! All it does is puts you in harms-way of getting a grain of rice in your charging hole… your phone will only “survive” if the water you spilled it in is distilled
  • Additionally, throughout the session questions flooded when we got a chance to hold and explore the open phones ourselves! Thanks for a super informative meeting Ms Hargett!


March 8th, 2016

The Two Tech Entrepreneurs post will sum up the awesome session we had on March 8th.

March 1st, 2016

Check out the Unplugged Stations blog post to read all about the eighth meeting 🙂

February 23rd, 2016

  • Today we connected with the Director of the Code For Princeton organisation! Her name is Ms Claire Ralph!
  • We began with an intro to Civic Hacking: Hacking to better the community
  • Additionally, we discussed what Code For America and Code For Princeton is and how they work with techies, government experts and community members
  • The members got a chance to brainstorm problems that they see in our community and how technology might solve it
  • Additionally, took the student-suggested issue: ‘Pollution’ and motioned through the steps of what it would take to solve this problem, let alone begin programming
  • During this activity, we broke the roles/stages into several pieces:IMG_1149
  • A wrap up was that the Transportation Policy Hackathon on February 25th-27th will be an outlet to try out these techniques.
  • From artists to instagram-lovers are needed to complete a hackathon project.
  • YOU have the power to make a difference with the help of resources like tech and local communities like Code For Princeton where you can collaborate and learn from people who are at different levels than you are!

February 16th, 2016

  • Today the session began with a brief intro to what the members would be expecting: Hearing from Founder & CEO of Major League Hacking about his story and key points to help us reach our full potential (like he did) as rising highschoolers
  • Then, we went straight into the video chat with Swift with an introduction
  • In his presentation, these were the key points:

– Its not what you know, its who you know

– Find what you love and do it

-Persevere and reach your goals

  • Towards the last fifteen minutes of the meeting, Swift opened up the room to any questions or just free discussion
  • They’re were several awesome questions and simply not enough time for all of them! Swift is graciously wiling to answer any more questions you may have, please forward them to Iccha and she will pass them on

February 9th, 2016

  • At our 5th session of our 2016 season, we had the opportunity to learn from and talk to Mrs. Tynicka Battle!
  • We started off by listening to a little bit about what Mrs. Battle does as well as answering some questions that provoked us to gain a deeper understanding on what she was discussing
  • While she was talking she shared a story about how her race was misinterpreted and how she decided to take a stand and advocate the people that looked like her
  • Additionally, she emphasised on not just “standing up” but taking action and getting something done
  • For instance, throughout her presentation, she brought up one of the latest arguments about Girls In STEAM. By giving her setting the role model she is, she empowered many of the girls in the room. She showed them that even they can do things as big as working with Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Government agencies
  • She also lead us into our “Techsters Marketing” project which was looking at several things that included: Our demographic, Techsters personality or “ideal Techster”, color pallets and what they represent and several other key aspects to consider when marketing a product/service
  • Finally, we wrapped up the session by splitting up the room into two parts: The Design Team and the Categorising Team. The Categorising Team was planning our our process and the Design Team was already delving into making prototypes in resources like: Canva, Silk, Photoshop, etc;


February 2nd, 2016

  • Today, was our last session with Mr. John Lemasney
  • We are grateful for the 5 CanaKits that UMS provided for Techsters and further use in classrooms 🙂
  • This session, Mr. Lemasney gave us an introduction to setting up the Raspberry Pi through our Epson Projector that had a HDMI port
  • While he was installing Raspbian, we let the members explore
  • On each table, we opened a CanaKit and allowed the members to explore the contents in the kits
  • After a while spent tinkering, the members regrouped and we got to check out a couple things on the Raspbian OS
  • The members were excited when we checked out programs like MineCraft and Scratch on the Pi
  • All in all, we hope that the members have retained a better understanding about what the Raspberry Pi is, how to set it up, how to explore it and some ideas about what you can do with it!


January 26th, 2016

  • Mr. John Lemasney recapped the last meeting for the members who couldn’t make it
  • Subsequently, we began a step by step tutorial about how to set up Jasper
  • The tutorial came with cool tips, tricks, information and ideas corresponding to Jasper
  • The members also shared about their goals and better understanding about the Raspberry Pi
  • Several members also told us about projects they’ve completed with the mini-computer and what their goals are for the future
  • We wrapped up the session with a ten minute “pop-corn” activity where the members told us about any experience they’ve had with technology. One specific story was told by an awesome member. It was about technology’s rapid growth in the past couple years with the great example of the iPhone

January 19th, 2016

  • Mr. John Lemasney introduced himself
  • We went through the “Getting To Know Raspberry Pi” slideshow
  • During the presentation people got involved in the conversation by adding in their personal experiences with the Pi, what they’ve heard about, what they’re interested in and several other super cool comments
  • We wrapped up the session by giving the members a little peak into what we’ll be getting to know in the next two weeks: Jasper
  • The members left with excitement for the next meeting and with a better idea about what the Raspberry Pi is 🙂

January 12th, 2016 (First 2016 Meeting)

Check out the First Meeting’s post for a full overview of what happened!

February 14th, 2015

The Last Meeting of Techsters For The 2014-2015 School Year is where you can read about how we closed up the season

January 28th, 2015

  • The second Python workshop with Greg began with a small recap of what happened at the last meeting
  • Then, Greg introduced us to so we could try out new commands
  • Greg showed us how to calculate areas of triangles, rectangles, circles and squares using what we knew already
  • Printing was another skill that he went over during our session
  • We also discussed floats and integers in Python (%f, %d)
  • Putting all of these new skills together, we were able to program the computer to print out things like, “Area of the triangle is %f “  % tri_area.

Greg then left us with a challenge for us to solve as our homework.. check it out in the post “Python Workshop Session 2”

January 21st, 2015

  • The exciting meeting began with an introduction to Greg Owen, a senior from Princeton University who was studying CS
  • Greg began by showing us an app that he conjured up with Python
  • Then, he transitioned to an activity in command prompt to get our feet wet
  • Greg had us access the computer’s information, that’d be deleted permanently when you delete it from the terminal
  • He also showed us some simple calculating commands in terminal with variables that we assigned
  • Finally, he wrapped up the session with some small steps to build upon what we learned today

For in depth information on the things that we accomplished today, check the “Python And Princeton”  blog post 🙂

December 17th, 2014

  • Techster’s members began the meeting with an informing intro to what the Raspberry Pi is, how it looks and some simple things you can do with it.
  • Subsequently, the MIT App Inventors stepped aside and watched some interesting videos about peoples’ mind blowing applications, to get ideas for what they’ll be doing.
  • The Raspberry Pi’s finished listening to the presentation and then, moved onto learning the beginning steps of Python, on Codeacademy.
  • AT the end of the hour, Members were encouraged to keep brainstorming (App Inventors) and learning (Python– Ras Pi).
What To Do Over Break : Finish Slide two of the presentation (week two; Do it on your own copy) 

December 10th,2014

  • In honour of Computer Science Week, Techsters decided to host the Hour of Code.
  • Videos about the Hour of Code resources were shown, so the members could choose which activity to try.
  • Microsoft, Codeacademy,Khan academy, Touch Develop and’s resources were used to get the members involved in the Hour of Code!
  • The members were encouraged to keep coding at home and that the #HOC doesn’t end at the end of #ComputerScienceWeek!

Here are the links to the HOC resources:

December 3rd, 2014:

  •  MIT App inventor’s lesson plan was described along with what the members will be doing (goals, brainstorming, etc;)  {Link to info about MIT App Inventors:  }
  • The members were split up  into the two groups {T-shirt design w/ Mrs.Markmann and programming w/ Iccha}
  • The programming members decided which of the two groups they wanted to be in (Raspberry Pi or MIT App Inventor)
  • The T-Shirt design members looked at an example of the process (step by step)
  • The “Raspberries” discussed different things that they would want to build with Ras-pi and how they would do it. They also shared experiences, talked about what the mini-computer  actually does and how it runs (python).
  • Firstly, the “App Inventors” made groups of 2-3. They also began to jot down big problems in the world, that they would want to solve. They practiced sharing ideas and listening to others and their experiences/ideas.
  •  We wrapped up by informing the members to fill out the presentation by maing a copy and putting it into their Techsters folders (Google Drive). You should  share it and collaborate with your other team members before submitting it on Wednesday, December 10th.

November 19th, 2014:

  • Began Javascript on Codeacademy.
  • Had some people write with the “magic keyboard” about their difficulties and what they enjoyed whilst coding. This will be used to share and discuss at our next meeting.
  • We asked for 1 suggestion and 1 thing you enjoyed when wrapping up, to make this club based around our members.

November 5th, 2014:

  • Walked through this website
  • Assigned computer numbers
  • Went over the T-shirt design power point– Check Power Point for T-Shirt ideas here.
  • For next week (Nov 12th, 2014) know if you want to do the T-shirt design, coding or both. This will guarantee that the hour is well spent!

3 thoughts on “Activities From Meetings

  1. Pingback: Three Consecutive Raspberry Pi Workshops – Techsters

  2. Pingback: The Last Meeting of The 2016 Season – Techsters

  3. Pingback: Techsters 2017 Season – Techsters

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