Educators & parents: You can do this Hour of Code Activity as a class or students can work on it independently. If you have any questions or need help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who was the first computer programmer?
Stumped? Introducing Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician from the mid-1800s, famously known as the very first computer programmer! As a young girl Ada Lovelace was captivated by math and science, so it only makes sense that her innovative thinking led to the development of the first computers. (Maybe you've heard of loops; she thought of that!)
Today a computer can fit in the palm of your hand, but that wasn't always the case. Early computers could easily take up an entire room, or even a small building, but still weren't as powerful as your slim computer today. We have Mary Allen Wilkes and her design of the first minicomputer to thank for that.
There are countless other women who have helped pave the way for modern computer programming and the one we're highlighting in today's coding project is Grace Hopper. She is famously known as a pioneer of computer programming for her work leading to the development of COBOL, one of the first high level programming languages ever, and has inspired world-wide celebrations of women in technology.
Join Coach Hayley in this video to learn how to code a chatbot, a computer program you can have a conversation with! You'll be using user input, conditionals, and variables while finding out how Grace Hopper made it possible for us to code today.
When you're done, your project will look something like this:
Congratulations! You just coded your very own Chatbot and learned some fun facts about one of the many women of Computer Science. Grace Hopper would be proud!
What else can you find out about Grace Hopper's amazing work? Add more to your chatbot or start a new project about another computer scientist you've learned about through your research - Gladys West, Karen Jones, Annie Easley, Carol Shaw, just to name a few!
If you want to go beyond an Hour of Code... What would happen if these amazing computer scientists were hanging out together? What would they talk about? Would they invent something incredible? You can program a fictional adventure with these heroines. For some hints on how the code could work, you can look at this video tutorial on the Adventure Story format.
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