In the figure above, Prep DeCal students and facilitators worked together to figure out a code to solve the maze challenge.

Prep has been an active and successful part of PiE for three years now. Recently, Manda Au, the Program Director of Prep, was excited to share some information about what has been going on in Prep so far.

For those who are unfamiliar, Prep has been taught as Berkeley DeCal class for two years. Like last year, the goal of this year’s Prep is both giving hands on experience and teaching advanced programming as well as keeping students engaged inside the classroom. The main difference between this year’s and last year’s Prep is that mentors are encouraged more to be the main teachers at the high schools this year.

For this semester, the Decal take place once a week on Tuesdays. There are 9 mentors which are divided into 2 teams. One team is assigned to go to Community Day in Oakland, which is an expulsion school. The activity led by the mentors is part of after school program there switching between Wednesday and Friday. There are 2-3 students at Community Day participating in the program. Another team is sent out to Ralph Bunche Oakland in Oakland which is a continuation school. The mentors in the team teach science to the students there during physics class on every Thursday. There are about 6-10 participants from the school.

At the beginning, the activities at those schools were aimed to interest the students in science. Then, after several weeks, the activities were steered toward robotics and maze lesson. One of robotic projects assigned to the students were tug of war robot. This project mainly involved mechanical skills. The students were given about 2 weeks to work on the project. Then, they had to compete to find out which robot was the strongest. Not only was Lego mindstorms used for tug-of-war challenge, but it was also used to build robot that can go through a maze for the sake of maze lesson. This project involved both programming and mechanical skills. They had about a month to figure out to program the robot such that it could be successfully driven in the maze.

The Prep Decal is still going on right now and will end in the last week of instruction. However, PiE will keep sending mentors to the schools until next semester. Related to Prep, there will be Prep Field Trip on December 9 when the high school students will come to Cal and PiE will give them a tour. Hopefully, everything Prep team has done for the high school students can be useful for their school and their future.