For the past two days, I have been asking both groups of robotics students how they want to be split up.
Currently, I have one stacked robotics class that meets during 3rd period on A-Days with 24 students enrolled in it and I have a second stacked robotics class that meets during 3rd period on B-Days with 25 students enrolled in it.
Ferris High School has two FTC teams (FTC 11242 and FTC 12645). At discussion is whether to have one team be assigned to A-Days and the other team be assigned to B-Days or to have half of the students on each day be assigned to one team and the other half assigned to the other team.
I see advantages and disadvantages to both. If both teams are split half-and-half, it will force them to completely document their process, which was a major problem last year. However, having the entire team together will help build cohesion within the team, which was another problem we had last year.
I have ultimately put it to a vote to the two groups and was surprised with the results.
I was genuinely surprised. The A-Day group had 54% apathy for the vote and did not care on the outcome. 29% wanted it split half-and-half. 17% wanted it split between days.
In contrast, the B-Day group had 0% apathy. Everyone voted! 88% wanted to be split between days and 12% wanted it split half-and-half.
I recently got a message that the North Texas area for FIRST Tech Challenge will focus on qualifying tournaments this upcoming season as opposed to league play.
I have sent a message to our new affiliate partner to determine if we can get the majority of the teams in our league to commit to league play, could we proceed with leagues as opposed to qualifiers.
My concern is that many teams may only have the resources to pay for a single event. If that is the case, their robot is only guaranteed to drive 5 times the entire season in qualifying play. In contrast, they’re guaranteed 20 different times to compete in league play.
I am proposing the following season schedule for the league…
At the conclusion of last school year, I had a curve-ball thrown at me concerning my plans to offer AP Computer Science 2 based upon an adopted AP syllabus when I requested the course authorization. This course would align with the AP Computer Science – A Exam. In addition, the course would count as a Language Other Than English (LOTE) credit for our students.
Well, the State of Texas had other plans on that. According to TEA, Computer Science 2 can count as an AP credit OR a LOTE credit, but NOT both.
As we already have HB-5 students in progress that need CS2 as their second LOTE credit, we have elected to drop the AP designation. However, I am still modeling the course after the AP CS2 curriculum from the adopted syllabus, which will allow the students to be prepared to take the AP Computer Science – A Exam at the conclusion of the year, if they would like.
Here is what I am planning to cover in CS2 this year:
Weeks 1 – 2
Numerical Representations, Limitations of Finite Representations, Number Bases & Conversions, Hardware, and Programming Languages
Weeks 3 – 4
Objects & Primitive Data
Simple Data Types (int, Boolean, double, char), Variable & Constant Declarations, Assignment & Arithmetic Expressions, Console Output, Primitives vs. Objects, Create Objects with Classes, References, JAVA Library Classes (String, Integer, Double, Math, & Scanner), and Random Numbers
Weeks 5 – 6
Conditional Programming Statements
Software Development Process, Control Flow, Boolean Expressions, Laws, Truth Tables, and Conditional Expressions
Weeks 7 – 9
Flow of Control, While, For, Infinite, and Nested Loops, and Algorithm Analysis (Running Time and Execution Counts)
Weeks 10 – 12
Anatomy of Classes (Constructors & Methods, Declarations of Class, Interface, Instance, variable, Method and Parameter), Method Overloading, Method Decomposition, Object Relationships, Pre & Post Conditions, and Data Abstraction & Encapsulation
Weeks 13 – 15
References, Exceptions, Class Design, == vs equals, Object Parameter Passing, Error Handling, Interfaces & Abstract Classes, JAVA Library Classes (Comparable & List Interfaces) and Identifications of Reusable Components from Existing Code Using Classes and Class Libraries
Inheritance (Subclass, Overriding, Hierarchies, Using Class Members, Polymorphism, & Class Hierarchy Design), Interfaces & Abstract Classes, JAVA Library Classes (Object), Reading & Understanding Class Specifications (is-a vs. has-a), Understanding & Implementing a Given Class Hierarchy, Extending a Given Class with Inheritance, and Applying Functional Decomposition.
Weeks 28 – 30
Recursion / Merge & QuickSorts
Recursive (Thinking, Programming, & Sorting), Flow of Recursive Control, Sorting Algorithms (Merge & Quick), and Comparison With Other Sort Options
Weeks 31 – 33
AP Practice Exam and Computer Ethics
Responsible Use of Computer Systems (Reliability, Privacy, Intellectual Property, Legal Issues, & Social/Ethical Ramifications of Computer Use), and AP Practice Exam
AP Computer Science – A Exam
Weeks 35 – 36
Cooperative Programming, Research, Reading Code, and Comparing Strategies & Algorithms
I now have my first glance at my rosters today in Skyward.
Here is how it looks right now:
1st Period – Principles of Applied Engineering
16 TOTAL (13 Males / 3 Females)
5th Period – Principles of Applied Engineering
16 TOTAL (16 Males / 0 Females)
2A – Computer Science 1
15 TOTAL (13 Males / 2 Females)
4A – Computer Science 1
12 TOTAL (10 Males / 2 Females)
2B – Computer Science 2
8 TOTAL (8 Males / 0 Females)
3A – Robotics 1
19 TOTAL (13 Males / 6 Females)
3B – Robotics 1
20 TOTAL (17 Males / 3 Females)
3A – Robotics 2
7 TOTAL (6 Males / 1 Female)
3B – Robotics 2
5 TOTAL (4 Males / 1 Female)
Converting these to percentages, this means that 9.28% of my Principles of Applied Engineering, 14.81% of my Computer Science 1, 23.08% of my Robotics 1, and 16.67% of my Robotics 2 classes are female.
A study from Jensen and Nutt shows 74% of females have interest in engineering technology ahead of entry to junior high. At conclusion of high school that interested drops to 2%.
Considering setting my 2017/2018 professional goal to be to develop a program that encourages more females into STEM.
According to US Dept of Ed 2015 study, 10.4% of males earned an engineering STEM credit compared to 2% of females.
Proposing 3 All-Girls STEM Camps for 2018:
Camp 1 – Completed 4th / 5th Grade
Camp 2 – Completed 6th Grade
Camp 3 – Completed 7th / 8th Grade
The major groups to support would be camps 1 and 2.