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Our primary focus in Duke Engage Orange County this week was on developing both our synchronous and asynchronous lesson plans. Although I was intimidated at first by the breadth of content my partner and I had been assigned to cover in our synchronous lesson on the Digital Footprint, the guiding curriculum document provided by our kind supervisor Anna Gianina Reynolds proved a critical resource for structuring our first hour-long presentation. During our planning and development process, I was grateful to be working with a partner who feels the same dedication and passion as I do for making challenging STEM content accessible to high school girls, and I’m optimistic that the amount of work we put into our plan will be evident to the girls we teach. I was pleasantly surprised, too, by the amount I myself learned for the first time about the specifics of the digital traces we leave on the Internet and the mechanisms of how cookies and location services work.

However, I found developing my asynchronous lesson plan to be more challenging, in part because I haven’t personally experienced a lot of engaging asynchronous lessons in the past year. Nonetheless, the training we received last week in Girls Inc.’s FaciliSTAR method for fostering the Experiential Learning Cycle was helpful in getting a sense of how Girls Inc. likes to see lessons structured, although I’m still undecided on how best to create an icebreaker/check-in when I won’t have all of the girls together at one time. As we look forward in the program, I’m quite excited about finally getting to “meet” the girls via Zoom during the parent and student orientations in the evenings next week. On a broader scale, though, I’m eagerly anticipating the actual start of Eureka! camp in July and working with all of the Girls Inc. staff members at the same time.