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the latest from code savvy

Our newsletters highlight a variety of people, organizations, and resources that are doing work to broaden participation and expand equitable and engaging computer science and STEM opportunities. We are honored to work in this space along with so many talented and passionate individuals and want to help bring attention to their work.

This Week’s Spotlight and Project-Inspiration: Black History Month

Spotlight on Black History! This week’s focus is “STEM in Black History”
For the next several weeks, we will shine our spotlight specifically on Black History. We recognize that history is a topic that is largely whitewashed and only told from the perspective of people in power to further certain ideas. Black History Month is an important reminder that there are large parts of history that generally go untold in schools and society, and that should be shared all year long. For the next several weeks, Code Savvy will be focusing on a different aspect of Black History and making connections through stories, experiences, and achievements to computer science.

This week, we explore the area of STEM in Black History. The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) have gained an increasing focus particularly in the education system recently. STEM continues to grow, change, and advance thanks in large part to key persons of color.
The recent Hollywood hit “Hidden Figures” brought a lot of attention to three particular women in STEM fields; Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Katherine Johnson was so strong in mathematics that astronauts counted on her to confirm by hand the calculations that early computers were making to ensure they were correct. Dorothy Vaughan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics at the age of 19, and was a pioneer in the early computing industry at a time when computers took up entire rooms and had to be programmed through punch cards! Mary Jackson overcame many obstacles to become an engineer at a time when the field was dominated by men, and she even went on to become the very first Black female engineer at NASA. The fact that these three were employed by NASA was groundbreaking at the time. They all played crucial parts in landing an astronaut on the moon, yet their roles have largely gone untold in the educational historical curriculum.
There has been research into the importance of role models particularly for women in computing and STEM fields. When students can see role models who look like them within areas of STEM and computer science, they are more likely to see those fields as realistic opportunities for themselves. That is why it is critical to continue to seek out and provide intentional role models to students to ensure they are repeatedly exposed to a variety of future career opportunities. There are a number of websites that have sought to fill this role. videos have intentionally included diverse representation, and organizations like Fab Fems aim to connect female role models within STEM to classrooms and other learning opportunities. Code Savvy continues to strive toward making connections between industry and education, to help youth connect with a variety of role models and future career pathways. Code Savvy’s Technovation[MN] program is a prime example of matching mentors with girls interested in STEM and entrepreneurship to support them in developing apps to solve community problems. Our CoderDojo programs also match mentors to kids to explore coding side by side.
This week as you are practicing your own coding, try to find or create projects that highlight STEM skills. You could check out the STEM simulations from PhET at University of Colorado Boulder - can you try to make one of your own?  Or maybe you want to use Scratch to explore math concepts with projects from CS and Math. If you choose to make a STEM highlight project, be sure to share it!

Share your CS to Go projects!

How to Share: We invite CS to Go with Code Savvy participants to consider sharing your projects publicly with the Code Savvy and greater #MNCodes community via video with Flipgrid. We can’t wait to see what you create! Please be sure to follow online safety guidelines and get adult permission before sharing. You can find our Privacy Policy here.

Catch Up on Past Weeks’ CS to Go and Bytes of Inspiration Videos

CS to Go and Bytes of Inspiration with Code Savvy are our response to the current health crisis -- Code Savvy’s programs have come together to develop weekly youth- and educator-centered videos that focus on creating new things with computer science. You can find all CS to Go and Bytes of Inspiration videos under Distance Learning on our website!

other happenings

Code Savvy’s MNCodes Educator Training Program

CS and Math
CS and Math is a great local collaboration that highlights the strong connections between Computer Science Education and math curriculums in schools. Check out to find lots of lesson ideas and resources to help utilize Scratch in the math classroom!
CS Integration Curriculum Showcase
As part of the MNCodes Cohort, educators are asked to create lessons that integrate computer science with another curricular content area such as literacy, math, science, or others, and align to both CSTA and MN Academic Standards. We will use this space to regularly showcase various curriculum resources that have been created by current or former MNCodes Cohort members.
  • Explore Math Concepts with Ozobots Jennifer R.W. shared a unit that allows elementary students to explore mathematical concepts using the Ozobot. Students learn about place value, addition and subtraction, telling time, and perimeter in a hands-on way through programming the Ozobot. Check her lessons and resources here. To see other projects that integrate CS into core content areas, you can browse our database on the MNCodes website.

Strategies for Effective and Inclusive CS Teaching (Jones)
Interested in making your CS courses more inclusive and diverse? Join this free online course to explore inclusive practices in CS, unconscious bias, CS as a tool for social justice, culturally responsive pedagogy, CS for neurodiverse learners, research-based CS instructional practices, and more through a mix of both live sessions and self-paced work. This course is primarily intended for the secondary CS teacher, but the strategies and research addressed are applicable for addressing equity and inclusion in any STEM course.
This course is offered at no-cost and will be led by Vanessa Jones & Andrea Wilson Vazquez, as a part of their involvement as CS for All Teachers Ambassadors.
Start/End Dates of Course: 02/22/2021 - 04/09/2021
- Kickoff will take place on Monday, February 22, 2021, 5:00-6:00pm CST
- Synchronous meetings will be on Mondays, 5:00-6:00pm CST
Click here for details and feel free to reach out to Andrea with any questions
Coffee + CS Ed Zoom Call
Looking for more ways to connect with other educators interested in CS Ed? Or do you have ideas to share, questions or want to try out a resource in the company of other K12 CS Educators? Check out Coffee + CSEd Chats - every Friday at 8am, CT. Anyone is welcome to join! Details and Zoom info can be found here.

Our search for mentors for the Technovation 2021 season continues. Volunteer your time as a mentor to support students’ learning! Work with young people and help them learn how to build technology that will shape their futures! Mentors can be educators, parents, technology, or business professionals, after school coordinators, etc. You can find out more here.

Our winter/spring schedule is now available here.Our next virtual event is February 13 - Register Here. Hope to see many of you there. Sign up for email notices - CodeDojoTC and Rebecca CoderDojo
Heads Up High School Girls - SPARCing College Success - Illuminating the Path!
The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing/SPARCS program is delighted to offer this virtual learning event for young women in high school.
Leading up to college we all have so many questions: Where do I go, what do I major in, how do I pay for college, how will I make new friends, how will I find internships? We will be talking about these questions and so many more with our panel of STEM college students and young professionals. The evening will be divided into two parts: a classic panel and an opportunity to network with the speakers and fellow high school students. 
Register here! Note:  Registration deadline February 17.
Presentation opportunity for students and recent graduates! 
Our friends at Minnestar are looking for student/ graduates to present at their upcoming Minnedemo: Back to Campus virtual tech showcase. 
Learn more and submit your application to present before Feb 16.


more code savvy


About Code Savvy

Code Savvy empowers youth and educators with the knowledge, skills, and support to create with technology while interrupting and counteracting gender, racial, and socioeconomic gaps in computing. We create opportunities for hands-on computer science learning that inspires learners to transform the future.

Visit our website to learn more 

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Our programs are FREE to all students who want to learn, regardless of background. Help us keep it that way. Donate today!

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