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!