Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Girls Who Code- Yes We Can!

Macallan, a Poquoson Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Macallan started a club at Poquoson Elementary School where she taught girls basic computer programming techniques. Using a variety of software programs, Macallan developed activities to make learning fun for the girls in the club. She started teaching them using a “drag and drop” method, and then moved to a program where girls learned to type commands.

Macallan also used other activities to engage the girls in skills need for computer programming. They learned binary code through a bracelet-making activity and learned the importance of being overly specific while writing commands during a sandwich-making scenario.

“Many girls drop out of higher level classes around middle school so that they are not labeled as a nerd by their peers,” Macallan said. “The girls I have worked with see me as a role model, and they see that dropping out of high level classes is not their only option. They love coding, and I believe that this club will influence their career choices in the future.”

Macallan’s club will be sustained by teachers at Poquoson Elementary School with support from the principal. Many of the girls who took part in the club last year are planning to join again to continue developing their coding skills.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Macallan to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor. In 2016, Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of girls changing the world during the centennial year of the Girl Scout Gold Award.