Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Girls Who Code @ the Rapid City Public Library

Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. 40,000 girls in all 50 states are experiencing coding in a fun and friendly environment each year thanks to the Girls Who Code organization.

Teen Librarian, Taylor Calderon, started a Girls Who Code Club at the Rapid City Public Library in January 2017. The RCPL Club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. and is open to 6 - 12 grade girls. The club currently has four girls who come to the library twice a week to practice coding.

The club’s curriculum has five phases: launch, design, build, test, and celebrate. The design, build, and test phases challenge the girls to create a CS Impact Project with coding that will positively impact their community. The girls at RCPL wanted their CS Impact Project to expose users to the realities of human trafficking. They are creating an Escape Room style game with Scratch, a block coding program. The game asks users to answer a series of questions about human trafficking to save someone who is being impacted by this crime.

The girls also learn Core4 computer science concepts while working on their CS Impact Project. The Core4 concepts form the basis for all computer programming languages. They cover loops, variables, conditionals, and functions through a series of helpful videos and exercises.

The curriculum exposed the girls to women in technology who are already working in the male dominated computing field. The women’s stories are meant to inspire the girls to start thinking about what it would be like to work in the computing field.

The girls are still hard at work coding their game until the club wraps up on Thursday, May 25, with a celebration and goodies for them to enjoy.