Computation happens all around us. Computer Literacy is now a fundamental skill. The logical thinking, mental tools, and concepts that define computational thinking, not how a machine thinks but rather how we as humans think through a set of instructions, (or algorithms) start early in life and can be built upon. We could say that computational thinking is a combination of problem solving and creativity. Identifying patterns is one skill that builds the foundation of the compuational process.
Beautiful Patternsis a program founded by Abel Sanchez, Executive Director of MIT's Geospatial Data Center. He and his dedicated team delivered the program to 1,000 high school girls in Mexico last summer. The successful model included bringing women computer-science graduate students from MIT to facilitate and teach the intensive one-week program to their all girl audiences.
As the program grows exponentially, Sara Chavarria, Assistant Dean of Research Development & Outreach and Erin Turner, professor of math education are collaborating to bring Beautiful Patterns to the University of Arizona. Arlett Perez will direct the summer 2019, two-week program that supplements the Upward Bound experience.In week one, the high school students will practice hands-on activities around fun themes like How to choose a BFF, or How to pack a suitcase that are tied by concept to the sorting and searching algorithms of computer literacy. Afternoons will bring an opportunity to learn on computers and connect with the instructors, women studying computer science at MIT or at UA. Week two of the summer program will be a design challenge on applied engineering robotics.It will be held in a maker space.