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Our school (CAFFE) and girls in STEM

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Girls and boys coding Arduino boards at CAFFE
What’s the secret to encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects? I have no magic solution but I can say that at our school (CAFFE) over 60% of the students are female. We haven’t carried out any in depth, serious research into this so I can only speak from personal experience.
I grew up playing (and making) computer games, firstly with a Commodore 64 and later with an Amiga. There was very little computer education in school and when there was, it was often at a very basic level. I remember trying to write an English essay with one of these old word processor machines -it looked a bit like this:
Image from: https://bbs.boingboing.net/t/the-hemingwrite-retro-word-processor-with-cloud-backup-and-google-docs-integration/44098
It was so awkward that I vowed I would never use a computer to type an essay ever again! For me, computers were about games and fun, not work.
Lots of kids talked about playing computer games at my school but I don’t rem…

Loop's Race Game

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Loop's Race Game Instructions

Play the game on the Scratch Website

This game is based on those old sports games from the 80s where you had to quickly press two keys to make a character run.

STEM education for all

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Bring STEM to your classroom (Microsoft Education)

When the idea for SwopBots first came about, our mission was to reach those children who were not already passionate about coding and engineering. We made SwopBots for children who had not yet found success with other coding products. We especially wanted to appeal to girls and to children from minority backgrounds.

The reason the SwopBots story is so important to us is to grab the attention of children who are more comfortable with a book than a laptop. Our goal is to capture their imaginations and let them know that computing might be worth a second look, not because we think everyone should be a developer or engineer but because everyone can benefit from the kinds of skills that come along with a little knowledge of how computers work. Logical thinking, problem solving, perseverance, trial and error, correcting mistakes and team work are not only important to engineers, they are skills that are of benefit to everyone.

Today we were…

Ruby's Reaction Game

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Ruby's Reaction Game Instructions

Play the game on the Scratch Website

A simple little game to test reaction speeds. Ruby is searching for violum. Press the SPACE BAR when she is over the violum. Be careful, she only has a limited amount of fuel.

This project practices the Broadcast function as well as variables, loops and collision detection.


Simple Spaceship Game (beginner)

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Try the game here : https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/152611703/

Download PDF Instructions

A simple spaceship game where the player needs to move left and right to avoid oncoming planets.

Practices basic skills such as moving objects on the x and y axis as well as loops, collision detection and timing.

Features opportunities to extend the game by making it two player or by changing the variables which control the speed of sprites.