The course used a Scribbler robot for its cost effectiveness and robustness. It was developed at Georgia Tech and has a camera and Bluetooth. You can also stick a pen into it so that when you command it to move a certain way, it will draw pictures. An interactive Python shell could be used to enter commands for the robot to move.
The enrolment for this course ended up being almost all boys -- there was just one girl in the end. However, this one girl ended up being so good that the boys completely changed their mind about whether girls could "do" technology. Also, the students were younger than most outreach programs accept (7-13 years old), but the ideas should be adaptable to many situations.
Here's some of the advice given for this part of the session.
- Kids like to explore, so give them an adventure. They robots can go on a mission to find certain things to take pictures of, like planets in a mock solar system.
- Be sure to take time to interact with students one on one, especially with the younger children.
- Present computing as a medium for creativity and see what they come up with.
- Be innovative. When presenting the concept of variables, for example, Mad Libs were used.
- Give them something to work with, like basic code snippets.
- Abstract harder concepts, like loops, with more useful code snippets.