I'm A Girl Who Codes





A Day in the Life of a Teacher Who Codes: Week 5


It’s already week 5 of the Summer Immersion Program! I can’t believe it!

If you’re just tuning in, I’m Kristi, a teacher for Girls Who Code at Pixar, and I’m back for week 5 of the . Here’s the inside scoop on what went on behind the scenes!


The students are learning Robotics - that’s right, Robots - and Arduino programming this week! This morning I let the students work in groups to build circuits that would light up LED lights. Then, Alonso Martinez, a technical director at Pixar, came by and talked about his work on Coco (computability and complexity) and brought his robot, Mira, to show the class.The students loved it! 


I taught the girls how to create sounds on their robot. The highlight of the day, though, was the extra behind-the-scenes tour we got of Pixar. We got to see some of the animators’ offices, which were decorated elaborately in different themes. One person had even knocked out his front office wall and created a new wall made out of Styrofoam stones to give it an Indiana Jones feel. You could tell that animators have a lot of fun. We also got to see the “Rendering Farm,” which is the room with  computers used to render scenes - generate an image from a 2D or 3D models. AND we also got to go to the roof!


We started class with a conversation about gratitude. With all of the new and exciting things the students are learning and experiencing, it can be easy to overlook the hard work and generosity put into it by others. The girls then wrote thank-you notes to different people they’ve met throughout the summer to express their gratitude. After lunch, Sean “Stoked” Stephenson came by to do a Web Development Workshop. He showed the students how to create a GitHub account and host their own website on GitHub pages. 


Thursday was fun for two reasons: the girls got to make their robots move, and Jeff Stern, last year’s Pixar teacher, came to visit. In the morning, I talked about how to program the servos on the robots to make the wheels move. They spent some time writing functions for moving the robots forward, backward, left, and right. Then, Jeff gave his “Remember the Human” talk on UI design. After lunch, the students worked in groups to create a robot dance to the song of their choice. At the end of class, we had a dance party so everyone could show off what moves they programmed their robots to do. 


It was our TA, Amanda’s, birthday! That meant it was her turn to be pranked! After the classic “empty box” gag, we surprised her with cupcakes.

Since final projects start next week, we finished the day brainstorming ideas and creating groups for our projects. I can’t wait to see what they create!

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