Today with the ubiquity of computers in our society all students should understand how computers work and how to make computers work for them. With this in mind UNM Computer Science graduate students, Amanda Minnich. Pravallika Devineni, Scott Levy, and Matthew Fricke volunteered their time to teach an introduction to programming course for middle school students at Bosque School.
We visited the STARTUP exhibit at the New Mexico Natural History Museum where the students learned about the role Albuquerque played in the computer revolution and the history of microcomputers. Students were given a tour of Intel's state of the art chip fabrication plant in Rio Rancho.. There, and in the classroom, students learned about every stage of chip manufacture starting with molten sand, through transistor doping, and finally circuit wiring.
Students learned how to make graphical games of their own design using the MIT Scratch Language, and text adventure games using Java. Working in teams of two, students designed their games and implemented their ideas in code. The photographs below are of the students presenting their projects to the rest of the class and our visit to Intel. Every team was able to produce a playable and fun game or adventure. They used programming structures such as loops and conditional statements, logical expressions, message passing and objects. Students also developed their programming skills by debugging their code and writing a design document to guide their programming and teamwork. (Pictures used with permission).