Saturday, November 29, 2014

What are you doing for Grace Hopper Day???

UPDATE-01 (11/29/14): Originally posted 12/14/13, what follows is a description of what we did for CS ED Week, aka The Hour Of Code, aka Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Day, aka Lady Ada Lovelace's Birthday last year. This year we are doing much the same thing. Our goal here is twofold. (1) Promote Computer Science Education in general. (2) Recruit more students for the APCS class next year!

UPDATE-02 (12/1/14): Last year was based on this Hour Of Code Tutorial from This year I'd like to try this or this tutorial from I'm having a problem with the new tutorials. They load fine at home, but take forever to load in school. So, I'm downloading the whole thing to run locally on each of my student PCs! I used the following commandline to download the webste recursively, 
wget -mirror -r --html-extension -convert-links

UPDATE-03 (12/5/14): I'm not getting very far with as yet. I'd like to do the tutorials with my AP classes as they saw the tutorials last year. Also, has an Angry Birds tutorial and and a Disney's Frozen tutorial. So, I can do one in the morning with AP Calculus and the other in the afternoon with AP Computer Science as I have some of the same students in each. For students who have not done The Hour of Code with me,'s Karel the Dog is an easier intro. has two new tutorials. One is on mySQL and Harry Potter which is a little dry. The other is on making graphics with JavaScript which is a little challenging. I also like the tutorials because they feature experts in the video tutorials like Bill Gates and Mark Zukerburg teaching about if/then/else branches and repeat/until loops! Here's some videos from

UPDATE-04 (12/8/14): Here's what we did today!

(original post from 12/14/13:)
Here's what I did for the #HourOfCode
(1) I registered myself as a presenter of an Hour Of Code,
(2) I registered all my classes for a tutorial do be done during said hour,
(3) I presented the following info during that hour on Monday 12/9/2013:

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper is one of my personal idols! Not only did she usher in the entire industry of Software Engineering but she single handedly invented Computer Programming Languages and Compilers! She was a Math Professor, a Naval Officer, the developer of COBOL and an all around class act! 

Grace Hopper's birthday was Monday 12/9. To honor her memory, I registered all my classes for an Hour Of Code. Maybe you'd like to participate as well? The Hour Of Code is about exposing as many students as possible to Computer Science in all disciplines. I'm making this presentation during course selection week as well to encourage students to take Computer Science at my High School! Due to budget cuts, teacher layoffs, large class sizes and canceled electives, I'm recommending Honors 9th Graders take AP Computer Science next year. I used to recommend an intro course, but I can't anymore.... 

CSEDWEEK was an unprecedented international effort. Over 15,000,000 students at more than 30,000 locations (mostly schools) in nearly 200 countries were registered to participate sometime during last week and wrote more than 500,000,000 lines of code!

I teach Computer Science and see it as a great tool in all disciplines. It's a shame that more students don't take Computer Science in High School. Taking Computer Science can lead to a great major in college and a great profession! I also use Computer Science in all my Math and Science courses in High School and College! 

I've been teaching people how to code since 1975. I've also been teaching AP Computer Science at the High School level since 1984. Finally, I've been teaching computing at the College level since 1993. Needless to say, I'm a vehement advocate for a strong Computer Science Education in particular and a challenging STEM curriculum in general for every High School student

In fact, every single class I teach, every single day of the week, is devoted to some aspect of STEM! STEM stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering and Math." Actually, I try to incorporate STEAM into my classroom: "Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math." By Arts I do mean Art (fractals, 3D graphics, animation) but I also try to tie in plenty of History, Literature and Culture. 

Mine is one of the few High Schools in the USA to offer a Computer Science curriculum! CS50 at Harvard, see playlist above, covers a lot of the same material we cover here at Baldwin Senior High in my AP Computer Science class. They use Scratch, C, php and JavaScript whereas we use Python, SAGE, MPI and Java, but the concepts are the same!

Sadly, the United States is falling far behind other countries in training professionals for jobs in the 21st Century that will require this skill more and more! So, in answer to this growing demand, here's what I teach (in addition to Math and Science):

Intro to Computer Science (python):

AP Computer Science A (java):

CIS: Computing Independent Study 
(MPI with FORTRAN, C, C++ and python):

Calculus Research Lab (SAGE):
aka Scientific Computing Lab (Octave):
aka Computing Science Lab (R): 

HOUR OF CODE Instructions for Monday's tutorial:
(1) Each student should go to
(2) Sign up for CodeHS using this code: F2B9
(3) Start learning!

You will be completing a tutorial on programming for beginners. Fun will be had by all!

Course Selection Week DropBox!

Well, that's all folks.

Generally Speaking,

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