Maywood Center for Enriched Studies’ Computer Science Honor Society hosted over 30 students during its inaugural Spring Coding Camp. Students in grades 6-12 spent their spring break learning new computer science skills and programming languages via Zoom.
The coding camp was open to surrounding communities, allowing students from Bell High School, Maywood Academy, Orchard, and Ellen Ochoa to join students from MACES. Many of the campers had zero exposure to computer science prior to the program meaning numerous students finished the week inspired to learn more.
The Computer Science Honor Society members ran the entire camp using their weekly virtual meetings to plan.
“We started with brainstorming. Then in February, we started assigning workshops, and we practiced our presentations,” Alanis Cruz, junior and president of CSHS said.
With the support from advisors, Maria Camarena and Augustin Sarmiento, the society successfully created a five-day outline with workshops for all who were in attendance.
Day 1: Microsoft Guest Speaker
On day one of the five day virtual coding camp, students were joined by Perla Morales, a Customer Engineer at Microsoft. She shared her journey to get to Microsoft as a minority in her field. Morales was open about her experiences, shared advice and even answered questions from the students who attended.
Day 2-3: Amazon Workshop
On days two and three, students were introduced to block programming via Amazon workshops hosted by CSHS members. The society started workshops using block programming because it is an easy way for beginners to understand how to read and write code. By the end of the workshops, students were able to program robots using various blocks that allowed them to perform certain tasks.
Day 4: Chatbots with Python
Students were introduced to Python on day four, which is a programming language that is usually used to teach beginners the basics of programming. During the student-led presentation, CSHS members guided the campers through an overview of Chatbots and followed by a code-along. At the end of the presentation, every student had built their own Chatbot using Python.
Day 5: Websites & Closing
On the final day of the coding camp, all campers learned how to build a basic website from scratch using HTML and CSS. By utilizing the website GLITCH, campers were exposed to tags, HTML color pickers, syntax and proper placement of semicolons. After students had built their websites, the camp wrapped up with an ending ceremony highlighting each of the students who attended the entirety of the camp.
The MACES Computer Science Honor Society plans to host this coding camp every year, after receiving positive feedback from those who attended.
“Many students wished the camp was longer than 1 hour and 30 minutes and said that they would definitely come back the following year,” Cruz said.
The members are hopeful that by next spring, they will be able to host this event in-person.
Not only were campers able to gain new computer science skills, but CSHS members were also able to expand their presentation skills. “I am a very shy person and not so great with public speaking. However, hosting these workshops with my peers boosted my confidence,” Cruz said.