Math 4 ME 2000 Programming Workshop

What is Math 4 ME?

The Programming Workshop


Appendix: Materials Used in the Math 4 ME 2000 Programming Workshop
What is Math 4 ME?

The brochure for Math 4 ME explains:
Math 4 ME is a week-long residential camp for high school girls focusing on mathematics, gender equity, and life skills.... The goal is to provide challenging mathematics delivered in a collaborative, innovative setting by instructors who serve as role models, and to support girls as they enter traditionally male-dominated fields.
The philosophy behind Math 4 ME is based on a commitment to changing the common experience for girls in math.

Math 4 ME began in 1995 as a collaborative effort between the Women's Resource Center and the Mathematics Department at the University of Maine. Summer of 2000 marked its fifth year, and the third year that I was involved with the program. Each year staff of the camp and of the Women's Resource Center made some changes to Math 4 ME, to make improvements and to ensure that returning campers had a different experience.

In 2000, Math 4 ME focused on computer science more than mathematics. The change of focus was partly for variety, and partly to address the large gender gap found in computer science professions. Campers learned to program using StarLogo, an updated version of the computer language Logo. The change in focus was accompanied by a change in format. In previous years, participants attended a variety of short (one to two hour) workshops on topics in gender equity and life skills, as well as three mini-courses (or medium length workshops) in mathematics that were distributed throughout the week. The 2000 camp involved a core programming workshop that was held for up to five hours each day, accompanied by fewer short workshops.

One goal in designing the programming workshop was to integrate ideas from our gender equity workshops into the programming activities, to emphasize the connections between the technical and life skills aspects of Math 4 ME. A second goal was to increase girls' comfort and familiarity with computers. We wanted to give the girls a better understanding of the full capabilities and limitations of computers, and the knowledge that the ability to adapt these tools to their needs through programming is within their reach.