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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Computer science summer program introduces students to animation, robotics

Twenty female students from area middle schools got a crash course in robotics and animation as the 2010 Middle School Computer Science Summer Camp wrapped up last week at New Mexico State University.

Sierra Middle School student Arianna Martinez watches as her project, a miniature spinning carnival ride, begins to twirl. Martinez and her camp group created their project during the 2010 Middle School Computer Camp at New Mexico State University that taught female middle school students about 2-D animation and PicoCricket robotics. (NMSU photo by Donyelle Kesler)

Running for its second year, the camp provided learning and techniques on creating Scratch animation and PicoCricket robotics. Becoming educated on 2-D animation and computer robotics, the students learned important math, science and engineering principles. For most of the students it was their first encounter with either component.

"There is a steady increase in women earning all types of college degrees; however, the number of computer science degrees is still very low. We hope programs like this can change that," said Program Coordinator Sarah Graves.

After learning the basic elements of both Scratch animation and PicoCricket robotics, the students took the skills they learned throughout the week and prepared a presentation for faculty and parents.

Split up into small groups, the students created projects reflecting what they learned. Their projects ranged from a spinning carnival ride to a haunted house complete with moving spiders and ghosts.

The camp is sponsored by the Center for Research Excellence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the Young Women in Computing Program.