Kindergarten girls working together to decode a message in binary at Racine Civil Leaders Academy

Teaching Girl Scouts Computer Science

Cass Polzin
2 min readApr 4, 2017

Over the past few months Leeward has had the opportunity to visit a few different elementary schools in Racine, Wisconsin. We got to work with their girls, teaching them about coding and computer science.

All groups got to learn about the inner workings of a computer and then we had activities tailored to the different ages. Kindergartners and first graders got to learn about binary and decoded a secret message, before writing out their own binary messages (video below).

Girls in 2nd-6th grade got to learn about programming and “programmed their robot friend”. This consisted of writing out all the steps it would take to build a cup stack.

These ways of thinking are very specific to coding and programming, so it is exciting to get to expose young girls to this early on.

According to Computer, the percentage of women working in computer science-related professions has steadily declined since the 1990s, dropping from 35% to 25% in the last 15 years. Overarchingly, women and girls aren’t encouraged to pursue careers in STEM fields and it is frequently seen as a job for boys.

One main issues is there aren’t many female role models in IT, Computer Science, or STEM for girls to look up to. Additionally, small differences encourage young girls to stay away from it. It’s important to get to girls early and start providing them with opportunities before they even know they “should” have different choices because they’re girls.

Today is equal pay day in the United States (for white women). That means that as of April 4th, women (on average) have now caught up to what men had made as of December 31st.

Leeward wants to help bring diversity into tech and give women and people of color opportunities to participate.

About Leeward Business Advisors

Leeward Business Advisors is a Wisconsin-based corporation that provides business strategy planning, business improvement implementation, and full IT operational support. They offer world class Cloud Computing services, Cloud brokerage, Managed IT services, and a full US based Support Service Desk (called Quick Answers). Michael Polzin, CEO has 20+ years of enterprise business and technology experience gained while working at Allstate Insurance and Microsoft Corporation. Jason Klein, CTO has 15+ years delivering effective and efficient technology to Midwest companies.

Winners of KABA’s 2016 Fast Five Award