Summer CSGC Grant Update: Teaching Programming Courses to Middle Schoolers in My Community

This summer I have had the opportunity to work with a very talented group of middle schoolers in my local area on an introductory programming course. Seeing their progress throughout the program and learning to set up an entire course were both really rewarding for me.

The programming language that we focused on is called Processing, an open-source interactive graphics design software sketchbook. I chose it because it is easily accessible, has a relatively easy learning curve, and is applicable to many fields such as computer vision and graphics design. Oftentimes computer science summer courses leave you in an awkward position where you know enough to code basic programs, but not enough to understand what the rest of the community is doing. My goal for the program was to be able to leave my students in a place where they would have the ability and tools to explore on their own. The entire program lasted two weeks where we met everyday for two hours. We started from the basics of variables, functions, arrays, etc. and moved all the way up to graphics, rendering 3d objects and algorithms. We finished up with a final project where students worked on their own creative ideas like a physics stimulation for falling objects.

I am keeping in contact with the students and hope to continue working with them. I encourage them to come to me with any ideas for projects they were hoping to create so that I would be able to support them.

-Jerry Yuan ’22