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Promoting Coding Skills Among Kids and Teenagers – SOI

As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to highlight one of our most important causes: the Swiss Olympiads in Informatics 2021 and our collaboration with Girls Code Too.  We want to set the focus on improving coding skills for kids and teenagers across Switzerland. 

Here are a few takeaways from it:

We had two classes, with 14 girls who participated. 

Group 1: Advanced, ages 14 to 17

 

📚 What Coding Skills Were Covered?

  • Revision of the SOI problems from the previous year 
  • Breaking down an SOI problem
  • Dynamic programming
  • Recursion (including binary search and Hanoi towers)
  • Introduction to graphs (basic terms, breadth-first search, and depth-first search algorithms)
  • Sorting algorithms (bubble, insertion, selection, merge, quick and radix sort)
  • Greedy algorithms and heuristics (including Dijkstra’s algorithm, Prim’s minimum spanning tree
  • algorithm and A* search)

What was their Progress?

One of the participants is currently ranked third on the scoreboard.

🔴 What was the main challenge?

Overcoming a substantial difference in girls’ exposure to coding and its concepts.

 

Group 2: Beginners, ages 12 to 15

 

📚 What Coding Skills Were Covered?

  • Introductory and essential topics of Python programming
  • General introduction to programming and variables in python
  • If-Else Statements
  • Python Turtle
  • Loops
  • Lists
  • Functions

Note: This was a “beginners” group and the majority of the participants had zero experience in programming.

What was their Progress?

The girls got quite familiar with the basics of Python. They are able to understand short command sequences and write simple code on their own. They are now also able to find minor

errors in programs. They developed a good understanding of problems and showed good effort and ideas in solving a simple SOI problem.

🔴 What was the main challenge?

This group still needs a lot of guidance on how to implement their own ideas in Python and put the different parts together.

 

💫 Props to the course coordinator, Lara Riparip, and main instructors Jelena Trisovic and Xenia Augustin, as well as the guest instructor, Antoine Baudoux.

We look forward to continuing our mission to prepare students for SOI!