Summer Immersive 2018: Week Four in Review

Another week of learning, and only one more week to go!  This week the kids learned about a few more of the sustainable development goals, expanded their programming skills with an exploration of algorithms and objects.  At the end of the week the kids started to work on electronics and physical computing.  Finally, we caped off this week with a field trip! Highlights are below.

Sustainable Development Goals Logo

Clean Water

Life Below Water SDG IconClimate Action SDG IconAt the beginning of the week the kids explored SDG 14: Life Below Water and SDG 13: Climate Action through an interactive role-playing exercise with our education director Abigail Hazelwood. During the lesson the kids defined water pollution, and discussed some of the causes of water pollution.  The kids also discussed some of the impacts of water pollution to wild life and people, and the global inequality of access to clean water. Then the kids further developed their knowledge of threats to the ocean including climate change, and explored ideas of how to use the ocean sustainably. Finally, the kids acted out scenes (photo above) that detailed what they thought would happen to wild life and humans when water is polluted.

Clean Water & Sanitation SDGIn the middle of the week, the kids further explored water pollution through SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation.  The kids reviewed data on the access of clean water around the world. They then discussed why areas of the world have better access to clean and safe water than others. The group also discussed the Flint water crisis in Michigan, and how it is related to our earlier discussions about discrimination. Finally, the kids discussed how they could advocate for clean water in their community and in their country.

Peace & Justice

Peace & Justice SDG IconOur last SDG lesson of the week, and the summer was about SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. In this lesson the kids reviewed and discussed a series of case studies from around the world to understand what violence is and how it can exist in different forms. They explored and discussed the different reasons for violence around the world, and made connections between local experience of violence and global violence. Finally, the kids worked in groups to develop solutions for preventing violence.

Procedural Programming, Functions & Algorithms

Kid explaining sort algorithms to class.
Explaining number swapping in the sort algorithm

Building on their understanding of procedural programming using functions the kids explored algorithms in many forms.  The kids developed a broad understanding of what algorithms are and were exposed to many different kinds of algorithms that are used every day in computing.  The kids delved deeper on this subject by exploring different kinds of sorting algorithms written in python code.

Graphics, Animation & Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

Kid coding animation of bouncing balls.
Coding bouncing balls in python using OOP

Later in the week, the kids graduated from textual programs to computer graphics.  They first learned how to create shapes with code, and then learned how to animate the shapes on their screens. The discussion of shapes led into an exploration of objects in computer programming.  Finally, the kids learned how to code their animated shapes using object-oriented programming.

Physical Computing

Kid installing prototyping board
Installing Prototyping Board

At the end of the week, the kids started to ready their machines for our lessons on electronics and physical computing.  The kids expanded their machines by adding prototyping boards, which they’ll use next week to build their own simple electronic circuits.

Field Trip to Open Gov Hub

Kids reviewing causes of potential contributors to the maternal mortality rate in Ghana
Teams reviewing contributors to maternal mortality in Ghana

Our last activity of the week was a day long field trip to Open Gov Hub here in Washington, DC.  The Hub is home to many companies and nonprofit organizations using technology and data to address social and environmental justice issues.

The kids were treated to a tour of the offices, conference rooms and game room at the hub.  Global Integrity staff discussed how they use technology and data in their sustainable development work. They also explained their paths through school learning about STEM, social justice, and international affairs.
The team at Global Integrity demonstrated some data science projects they completed in Kenya and Ghana, and they detailed how they are using python, data analytics, and algorithms to illuminate insights in sustainable development.

Finally, the kids worked in teams to delve into Global Integrity’s project related to understanding maternal mortality in Ghana. The kids reviewed the different contributors to maternal mortality and developed hypotheses about which factors contributed most.

It’s been a truly awesome summer, and the kids have come so far since beginning four weeks ago.  Next week is our last week, and the kids will be working on their culmination projects for presentation to their parents. We are looking forward too seeing them show off everything they’ve learned!