DC Summer OWL Immersive Week 5

Week 5 of our DC program concluded our Summer Tech Immersive. During the last week the OWL Scholars worked hard on their projects. After choosing a UN Sustainable Development Goal, each student crafted a project based either in HTML or Python.

The environment based SDGs were very popular. We had websites informing us all about #13 Climate, #14 Life Below Water and #15 Life on Land. We also had students make Python quizzes that stumped quite few parents with their global climate questions!


Other OWL Scholars made a quiz about a very key SDG: #5 Gender Equality. This quiz really opened eyes about the realities of girls living around the world!

One team did an amazing job with musical coding. They coded a lovely beat and performed a song about SDG # 1 No Poverty. So impressive!


From learning the very basics of computing to being able to craft these projects, these young STEM leaders have come a long way!

As our summer comes to an end, we all look forward to the exciting year ahead. We will meet these great OWL Scholars again when we continue in the Fall.

DC Summer OWL Immersive Week 4

OpenWise Learning DC Summer Program’s Week 4 focused more on Python. The curriculum this week included expanding our knowledge of how loops work. For Loops versus While Loops are instrumental in programming and running through algorithms quickly are a key computer asset. WE made guessing games, wrote a Rock, Paper, Scissors Game and learned how to make a ball bounce across the screen!

The UN Sustainable Development Goal that we focused on this week was #3: Good Health and Well-Being. The 4 basic needs play an important part in well-being (Food, Water, Shelter, Healthcare). The kids had bright ideas on what individuals can do to maintain their health. We also reviewed different health concerns in various parts of the world. Sometimes factors that affect Good Health are not in a person’s control.


We also talked about sustainability which is a concept that runs through several SDGs. How can we modify our impact on Earth and its resources so future generations can have access to them as well? How can technology and other STEM fields create, innovate and advocate solutions to help us do that?

 We ended the week on a high note with a guest speaker. Mr. Warmsley is a computer scientist who worked on NASA’s Hubble Space telescope. He was kind enough to share his experiences of getting an education and working in the tech sector.We  learned  about how the telescope works and how it transmits data. The OWL Scholars were very excited and had lots of questions for him!

DC Summer OWL Immersive Week 3

Week 3 of the OpenWise Learning DC Summer Program has brought us past the halfway point for the summer. We finished building our websites and moved onto Python coding. We started with the basics by defining variables. Do you know what a variable is?


The OWL Scholars learned about data types and structures and how they are referenced. The next step was to learn about functions and loops. This is how we give the computer instructions. Our students  have learned that computers are fast but not smart! Your instructions have to be very specific and punctuation correct to not confuse the computers.

Putting all the different elements together we can code programs. First we wrote simple text programs asking for user name and ages. Then using Turtle,  the kids were able to write programs that created art.Our Sustainable Development Goal of the week was Education. As they say knowledge is power! The students identified all the benefits that an education can provide. Not only is access to education important but quality education is the key.




DC Summer OWL Immersive Week 2

Week 2 of the OpenWise Learning DC Summer Program hit the ground running! We went further with  HTML coding and mid-week our OWL Scholars split into teams for a challenge. Who could fix a site’s broken code first?

Do all of your tags have closures?

Are all of your items properly listed in the ordered or unordered list?

Proofreading in coding is very important!

We learned how to also do more with the style sheets.

What’s a webpage without some variety of text, font and color!

During Week 2 we explored in detail more UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We talked about SDG #1 Poverty, and SDG #5 Gender Equality.

Our Scholars learned that extreme poverty means living on less than $1.25 a day. We saw how boys and girls are treated differently around the world based on gender expectations.

Scholars saw how fragile aquatic environments are in SDG #14 Life Below Water.

We hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July! Back next week with more Tech and Social Justice Education!

DC Summer OWL Immersive Week 1

We are 1 week into our Summer STEM Immersive and it has been a great start! Our participants have been introduced to basic concepts and have learned what constitutes a computer. It’s not a magic black box that mysteriously produces answers and performs tasks.

Humans are the smart being and computers only do as they are told. Hardware and software that take input, store its, process it and gives us an output. Once you break computer science down to the elements, mastering it becomes possible and that’s an important lesson for novices.

This week we also identified the key parts of a computer. You don’t need a million dollars to have a functioning computer, and that’s the wonder of the small and affordable Raspberry Pi. As the OWL Scholars assembled their computers it reinforced the lessons on the hardware associated with input and output.

Once our computers were up and running it was time for terminal work! The students navigated through directories and how to display lists. This set the foundation for the networking lesson where students messaged each other from their computers. “What’s your network ID?”, everyone wanted to talk to everyone!

This week we also learned how computers talk to each other. 1’s and 0’s may look like gibberish to us but that is Binary Code, the language of computers.

01001001 00100000 01101100 01101111

01110110 01100101 00100000 01100011

01101111 01100100 01101001 01101110

01100111 00100001      [I love coding!]

The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals are also part of our educational curriculum. We introduced the the global initiative to make the world a better place. The kids were very adept at being able to name global problems they know about. Poverty, Inequality, Global Warming were key issues they were able to identify among others. The OWL Scholars split into groups to learn about and then present the 17 Global Goals.

Seeds were planted: By the end of the summer we are going to have projects that bring together technology and the SDGs!