Loyola Stars

Loyola University Stars Leadership Corps Chapter

Center for Tutoring and Academic Excellence

by sformentini October 20, 2014


As a tutor at Loyola’s Center for Tutoring and Academic Excellence, I have worked with many Loyola students to help them succeed in their classes.  Last week in particular, most of the students who came to my study halls had been there in past weeks.  We worked on everything from finding critical points in Applied Calculus to finding the probability of the mean incomes of a sample being above $50,000.  It is always wonderful to see students leave with a better understanding of their topic after spending a little bit of time together.

Tynker at Hawthorne and Nettelhorst

by dalestoutjr October 20, 2014

Hello all. This week all the students worked on animation sections of the lesson. They all spent the majority of the class designing backgrounds and characters, or as Tynker phrases it, scenes and actors. Some students even started to draw scenes and actors from scratch. I am hoping this will further motivate the students to apply the programming they have already learned to their scenes and actors to eventually create a simple game. 

Code Phreaks Weekend Meeting (10/18)

by anham-stem October 20, 2014

Because a benefactor of Code Phreaks came by for pictures and to donate some computers to the organization, we did not get much done. In some ways this was unfortunate; however, in some way it was really lucky. This is because when I did a final inspection of a few of the challenges, so that I could learn each challenge and mentor each group individually, I noticed that two of the challenges were built incorrectly. Thus, I had to rebuild them today, which also meant there was no way I could mentor the kids and if not for the benefactor event, some kids would be without a challenge to program their robot for. Hopefully, next week no special events will happen, so I can finally start mentoring each group on their selected challenge.

- Alvin

Code Phreaks at West Ridge (10/15)

by anham-stem October 20, 2014

Today, we finished building bag #4 and the other obstacles. This means that all that is left is to get a table together, tape the mat on it, and Velcro all the challenges to it. Then the students can start forming groups and programming for a challenge, instead of all just learning general robotics programming. Because we reached this point, today, we did not have the students code, instead we held a strategy meeting. We went over a video of all the challenges and asked them to chose the one they wanted to attempt for Saturday.

- Alvin

Code Pheaks (10/4-10-11)

by anham-stem October 19, 2014

First Day with Code Phreaks (10/4)

This Saturday was my first day working with Code Phreaks. Though the organization usually focuses on teaching children game design, it has recently been focusing on teaching children robotics, specifically FLL (First Lego League). This weekend, specifically, their FLL kit came in. However, because we had to spent all of our time going over the rules and guidelines of FLL, we never had the opportunity to give the children any time to further improve on their Lego programming skills. Next week, we, the staff of Code Phreaks, aim to have set up most of their FLL obstacles so that they can start programming their robots to clear these obstacles, or at least think about how they want to program them.

- Alvin

Code Phreaks at West Ridge

Today (10/8) was my first day at one of the weekday Code Phreaks meeting. Instead of being held at CPL in the morning, it is actually held afterschool at West Ridge Elementary. Students from multiple neighborhood elementary schools meet up there. Today, the students started working with making their robots move in controlled conditions. As most of the students were doing that, I worked with a student of West Ridge to build their third FLL robot. Next weekend session, we aim to finish building all the missions so the children can start programming to clear their obstacles.


Code Phreaks Weekend Meeting (10/11)

Just finished building our team’s third EVA3 robot as well as 2 of the obstacles that they will be using. That leaves us with Bag 4 of the obstacles, integration of the table, and some final prep work for some of the other obstacles. Most of the students have started programming their robots to move and turn, if not also working with the additional add-on sensors we have (such as color sensors and touch sensors).


[posted together as original posts were accidentally posted on personal tumblr]

1-on-1 Computer Instruction at Skokie Public Library

by amyu316 October 17, 2014


I finally got some male students this week! First one signed up for a mouse class on Tuesday. I to have him go through a website designed to teach people mouse usage, and I simply explained things about the tutorial he didn’t understand. It definitely went a lot better than the first class where I was trying to explain things on my own. Second class on Tuesday was a student that had canceled during my first week. She wanted to learn how to use her email, specifically writing emails and how to spell check, and how to apply for jobs.

Today I had two students as well. First was a repeat student, the first person I had taught how to use a mouse. I had been told she was doing a mouse class again, but we instead went over internet and email. I helped her sign up for an email and she also sent her first email. I find it a bit difficult teaching her because I feel like she doesn’t full understand what I am telling her and I’m not sure how I can explain things better so she can understand. Second student wanted help with his email. It was a bit tough because the email he was using was a Comcast one and he couldn’t log in so I couldn’t show him things that were tailored to his email. Since different mail account have a lot of things that are similar, just maybe named differently, I showed him how to do the things he wanted on my Gmail account and I used my Outlook account to demonstrate differences between different email providers.

One thing I notice about all my student is they all type using only one finger. I’m wondering if the library has any classes on typing because I think it would be beneficial for most of my students.

Ethiopian Community Association Computer Classes

by hibsster October 14, 2014

The Ethiopian Community Association Chicago is located on Greenleaf Ave, 10 minutes away from the Morse Stop. ECAC focuses not just on Ethiopian immigrants but immigrants and refugees from all over. They assist in finding housing, culture adjustment, and job placement along with cultural programs. One of the ways they assist in both job placement and cultural adjustment is through ESL classes and basic computer classes. ECAC’s computer classes are beginning next week. Another student from our class and I will instruct around 11 students on the basics of using a computer and creating a resume. In the previous week we went to the ESL class and told the students about the class. This Monday I went in the classroom and checked all the computers and made sure they were in working order. Overall I am excited to see how this class goes.

Howard Area Community Center

by mgusmano-10 October 14, 2014


This was my second session with the kids at the after school program. The (FTC) robotics team has completed the first part of their robot. It now has a competed frame, with wheels and motors in place. The youth decided to use a temporary solution to mount the electrical components and wiring in order to begin looking at the programming phase of the robot. Next session we will be revisiting the mounting phase. This was my first time looking at RobotC, the interface was foreign to me, but I was able to remedy the error that the kids were receiving from the code. Their assignment was to get the four wheels to be functional to either a controller or joystick input. I was impressed that the kids picked up the basic syntax quickly. The problem they were running into was redundancy and after removing a line of code the wheels were responsive to the input device. I am excited for the team and hope once they implement the next mechanism and have a semi-functional or functional robot that more of the youth at the community center will become interested or more interested in the robotics team. This is a smaller group so I am hoping that with my help they are able to grow.

1-on-1 Computer Instruction at Skokie Public Library

by amyu316 October 10, 2014


Today I had a student who signed up for an email class. She was a middle aged Caucasian woman. Since she wanted to learn about email I assumed she knew the basics of using a computer and the internet. Turns out I was wrong. That made things a little more difficult than I had anticipated, it was kinda like having to teach that mouse class again. She wanted an email where she could save and send documents from so I suggested she open a Gmail account since it gives you access to Google Docs where you can store and save documents. It took a bit of time but we managed to get an account set up and then I showed her how to use Googe Docs and how to attach documents from Google Docs. I was suppose to have two classes today (each an hour long) but the second person never showed, which is lucky because my first session ended up going for two hours.

Howard Area Community Center

by mgusmano-10 October 10, 2014

Last week  on 10/3 I was able to start my first session with the organization. This after school program is composed of a good variety of kids ranging from 14 to 18 from different schools of the area. I was pleased to discover that within the Teen Reach program I am working with there is a small robotics team. I spent a good amount of the session getting to know the kids and establishing a relationship. I believe that this was helpful because by the end of the day the kids were asking when I would be coming back which made me pretty excited. I demonstrated a couple apps for the kids and they thought it was pretty cool. They were more interested in playing the games this time than building their own, but I’m hoping that it will happen soon. Overall I was pleased with my first session.