Thursday, December 1, 2016
The Hour Of SAGE 2016!
The Hour Of SAGE 2016!
Every year, around Admiral Grace Murray Hopper's birthday, we celebrate CS Education Week and participate in The Hour Of Code. The Hour Of Code started a few years ago and has grown by leaps and bounds! This year it is estimated that 1000s of schools particiapted. Further, 1000000s of students wrote 1000000000s lines of code during their Hour Of Code, many for the first time ever!
Many of the activities at the Hour Of Code website are based on the Blockly or Scratch programming languages using online IDEs and target younger students. I've used these in the past but thought I'd do my own this year based on Python and SAGE (see above) tailoring my presentation to a High School audience.
Python is a very popular programming language used to teach Mathematics and to do real Science. SAGE is a supercomputer at Washington State University funded by the NSF free for you to use where ever you have an internet connection. You can use SAGE on your cellphone or tablet using an app and you can use SAGE on your cellphone, tablet or PC using an internet browser.
I ran my Hour Of SAGE with all my classes on Monday 12/5/2016 and with all the remaining Honors Math classes on Wednesday 12/7/2016 as an in-school field trip. So, here's what I did on Wednesday:
STEP01: I went to each class and spoke about taking AP CompSci next year. I gave out the following letter too. The CSAP letter I gave to every class except for my current AP CompSci students. I gave them the CSI letter. We used to have an intro programming course based on Python called CSH but we don't have the enrollment to justify it anymore. We also had a class called CRL (Calculus Research Lab) as a co-requisite for AP Calculus using SAGE to complement Calculus class and to introduce the concepts of Scientific Computing aka Computing Science.
STEP02: I then march the whole class to my PC Classroom to have them do some coding all period! Put yourself in the students' shoes. Most of these students have never coded before and never saw my Lab before (see picture of my room in the banner of this blog). Imagine walking into a dark room. The only source of light was from 24 student PCs and a SmartBoard. On the SmartBoard you see the HourOfCode website masthead with the Game Of Thrones original sound track playing in the background. Sorry, I tend to be a little dramatic.
STEP03: Then I show the following motivational video about coding as a profession.
STEP04: Then we use SAGECELL to do some coding. I start very simply with the basic arithmetic operators in Python: +, -, *, /, //, % and ** aka ^. We follow by using the same operators algebraically. I finish with coding a simple python script or two related to the math the students are learning tailored to algebra, geometry, precalculus or calculus (see the first video at the top of this post). With my AP CompSci students I introduced the Processing IDE instead.
STEP05: We finished with a pep talk from President Obama!
STEP06: Last, but not least, I gave out Certificates Of Completion!