CSforAZ News

Issue 9: September 2018

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My Journey of Integrating CS and Algebra

By: ElizaBeth Warner

I am not a computer science teacher yet, I aspire to bring the very best computer science opportunities to my students. The opportunity to import Bootstrap Algebra’s new content to my classroom prompted me to dive into a summer pilot with Paradise Valley Schools. This cohort included 6th - 12th grade math teachers who were individually teamed with a female high school student who was in process of completing a summer internship with the district's technology department. The experience was very unique as my role as teacher-learner was shattered and changed quickly to struggling learner. The partnering and mentoring by a student-expert of Bootstrap Algebra’s content along with navigating an uncharted and uncomfortable struggle made the experience invaluable.

Bootstrap Algebra introduces, and reinforces algebra concepts while learners design a video game. The content taps student interest in video gaming while integrating such math concepts as order of operations, linear functions, function composition, the pythagorean theorem, inequalities in the plane, and piecewise functions.

My experience of designing a video game in Bootstrap Algebra provided a tremendous reminder of the struggle and challenges my students encounter when I introduce new content. The journey through Bootstrap’s rigorous curriculum forged a substantial warning that my students need time to marinate in their learning. I experienced first-hand in this process of designing a video game, that I had to just stop and let the concepts to steep. Bootstrap is inquiry based which promotes immediate engagement however, the rapid application of algebra concepts in a novel computer coding format is difficult, but ultimately very rewarding. My own growth mindset was challenged and celebrated as I was guided by my student-intern.

The self-directed and inquiry format coupled with a complexity are highlights of this coding and pre-algebra infused curriculum. Bootstrap offers real-world application in not only creating a video game but, real-world collaboration, teamwork and problem-solving. Within the game process, Bootstrap prompts self-checking opportunities to solve why the game code is not working. For me, this pause allowed for refinement of my algebra understanding and collaboration with a fellow coder. In Bootstrap Algebra, coders are not coding with blocks or pictures but, writing lines of html code which makes the process more in depth and rigorous to locate errors and solve these hiccups in the code.

An impactful learning moment within the curriculum was the exploration Circle Evaluations in unit 2. The circle evaluations take simple images and expressions and translate easily into evaluations of the expressions and lines of code needed for the video game creation.

One of the great benefits of the this pilot program was to immerse myself in not only coding and pre-algebra concepts but, to grow my own growth mindset that I could learn anything and improve my teaching strategies of algebra concepts while bringing a quality, rigorous and engaging computer science curriculum to my students.

"Bootstrap Algebra can be utilized in small groups, partners, one on one or even as a center where independent learners are in need of enrichment. Bootstrap aligns with the 8 Mathematical Practices and equally provides a platform to teach, review and have students identify and reflect on their own use of the 8 Mathematical Practices." - Bootstrap website

Note: Thanks to Google for the CS grant that brought Bootstrap to teachers and students in Paradise Valley

Native American Code Writers Program

The Native American Code Writers program (NACWP) was initiated and funded by

the Arizona Legislature beginning in April 2016. Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)

was awarded an eight-month grant to begin a pilot NACWP during May to December

2017. The program has grown in numbers and scope and is now funded for a second

school year, 2018-2019. The Native American Code Writers program targets Native

American students and their teachers by offering year long Computer Science courses

to students across three separate Native American communities: the Salt River- Pima-

Maricopa Indian Community, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and the Gila River

Indian Community. The program is expanding this year to include schools from the

Navajo Nation, in addition to preliminary offerings to the White Mountain Apache.

The primary goal of the NACWP is to introduce computer code writing curricula and

deliver a technology-focused education to primarily Native American high school

students. The CS content is designed to help students think critically, problem-solve, and

work with technology integration using app development, gaming, website design,

multimedia, cyber security and robotics.

In addition to the high school program, K-8 pipeline programs are also under

development with the high school students mentoring their younger peers through

programs at the 7-8 and K-6 level. Arizona has the second largest Native American

student population. This demographic is significantly underrepresented in IT careers

and industries. In 2017, only three NA students from across the state took the AP CS

exam. This programs works to address these challenges while providing networking and

career opportunities for Native teachers and students. To inquire about adding your

school/Native community to the program, please contact Linda Coyle at lcoyle@sfaz.org.

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Students from the Gila River Indian Community and Cesar Chavez High School mentor students from the Gila Crossing Community School at an Amazon CS/Robotics event this summer as part of the Native American Code Writers

Mark the Date: CSTA-AZ and CSforAZ Community Meet-up

Educators and advocates who are interested in expanding CS opportunities for AZ students are invited to attend a community meet-up on October 20, 2018 at University of Arizona in Tucson. More details forthcoming.

Girls in Tech Phoenix Launches Local Mentorship Platform

Mentorship is an essential part of the leadership equation. It enables us to talk through ideas, mistakes, opportunities, and challenges. The right mentor has an exceedingly positive impact on not only your career and professional performance, but on your private life as well.

But finding a mentor can be difficult. The Phoenix chapter of the national organization, Girls in Tech has recently launched a local mentor network using LeadForCareer’s AI-powered platform to help women create meaningful interactions and foster mentor-mentee relationships.

LeadForCareer’s mentoring platform was created by female-founder Yumi Alyssa Kimura, co-founder and CEO, to empower women in technologies to connect with like-minded professionals. Kimura hopes that platforms like LeadForCareer’s will “help retention and feelings of belonging within their companies and within the tech world as a whole,” citing that women leave the tech industry at a rate of 45% higher than men.

LeadForCareer’s AI-powered platform isn’t only for women, however. Men are welcome to join and use the platform, learn about the issues women in technology face today, and be a part of building the solutions and a better future.

Anyone interested in learning more about or signing up as a mentor or mentee can visit LeadForCareer.com.


The FabFems Spotlight highlights women from the FabFems Role Model Directory. FabFems are enthusiastic about the science and technology work they do and want to inspire a future generation of FabFems. Search the Role Model Directory to find FabFems in your area. We

Mari Lliguicota

benefit from role models at all stages of our lives.

Meet Mari Lliguicota. She studied biology and worked in an auto-immunology lab to search for biomarkers for lupus. Her STEM degree gave her the skills to adjust her career and she now works on software development in California. Mari loves knitting, board games, Pokémon Go and calligraphy. To learn more about Mari, visit her profile.

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Poster

The NCWIT award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC) honors women in grades 9-12 who are active and interested in computing and technology, and encourages them to pursue their passions. The 11"X17" poster can be used to spread the word about the 2019 AiC Award. Applications are open September 1 - November 5, 2018.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th - October 15, 2018), here are some resources that serve to promote Latino(a) students in STEM:
  • Latinas in STEM: Spreads awareness about STEM and encourages middle and high school Latinas, especially within underserved communities, to consider pursuing a STEM career.
  • SHPE Jr. Chapters: The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) program provides high school students with opportunities to participate in hands-on STEM activities, receive mentorship, and experience STEM firsthand at a participating local university or museum.
  • TECHNOLOchicas: Designed to raise awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology. During 2017 and 2018, Televisa Foundation and LULAC brought the Technolochicas Lift programs to the state of Arizona. Videos can be found on Televisa Foundation Youtube and here is a link to a Technolochicas Lift videos celebrating the work in Arizona

Girls Who Code Comes to Arizona


Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. Our programs inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills they’ll need to pursue 21st century opportunities.


With over 90,000 alumni, Girls Who Code is the only organization in the nation providing high-impact, in-depth computer science education in a supportive environment to girls-- our program is a critical factor for girls choosing to pursue computer science at the college level.

Our 5,000 college-aged alumni are choosing to major in CS, or related fields, at a rate 15 times the national average. Our outreach to historically underrepresented groups - particularly girls who are Black, Latinx, or from low-income households - is paying off too. Our Black and Latinx alumni are choosing to major in CS or related fields at a rate 16 times the national average.

Learn more about our outcomes in our 2017 Annual Report.


Girls Who Code Clubs are completely free after-school programs for 3-12th grade girls to join our sisterhood of supportive peers and role models and use computer science to change the world. The documents below provide an overview of the program model and curriculum:

Applications to start a Club this school year are officially open. After your application is approved, you’ll gain access to the full curriculum and training: Apply to Start a Club!


Our organization relies on collaboration with community partners to drive our work. Our Clubs Community Partners focus on launching multiple Clubs within their network to reach even more girls in their community. Based on thoughtful conversation with your organization, we’ll develop a partnership to support and enhance the Girls Who Code Club experience for your students. We seek to create partnerships with state and local leaders, school districts, community organizations, library networks and colleges/universities to launch multiple Girls Who Code Clubs. Together, we can prepare girls for tomorrow’s jobs. For more information: Community Partnership Overview.

Join our list of current Arizona partners: Chandler Unified School District, Kyrene de la Mariposa, Arizona School for the Arts, Chandler Public Library, Will Jr. High School, and Kino Jr. High!

Still want to learn more? You can sign up for an upcoming webinar here or email Ngan Pham, Regional Partnership Coordinator at thuyngan.pham@girlswhocode.com.

Interested in forming a partnership? Please feel free to schedule a partnership call with Ngan Pham, Regional Partnership Coordinator, here.


CSforAZ is a group of dedicated volunteers committed to enabling all K-12 students in Arizona to have access to computer science (CS) education.