Mentors Make The Difference
Mentor-Mentee Icebreakers, Activities, and Projects
Getting to Know Your Mentee
Getting to know someone can be awkward at first. But have patience with the process of developing your mentor-mentee relationship and soon you’ll develop deep conversations with your mentee as you help them explore their area of study. Use these prompts to break the ice and get to know your mentee.
Why did you choose to enroll in this program?
Tell me about what you’re good at…
What are you not so good at?
What slows you down?
What would you like to change?
What goals do you have for yourself?
How can I help you succeed?
On Your Second Meeting
Hopefully you’ve been able to break the ice with your mentee. In the second week you’ll continue to get to know your student better while beginning to build trust.
How has your experience with the program been so far?
What are a few of the most exciting things that you’ve learned so far?
What has been the most challenging for you?
How have you overcome that challenge?
What can you do to overcome this obstacle?
When you have a challenge or become stuck in the future, what resources will you use to help you solve the problem?
Now that you’ve been in the program for a little bit, do you have any ideas of things you’d like to build with code?
Sphero Bots are used for a number of purposes. Students explore coding with bots as part of STEM Power is Girl Power. Use these suggestions as a guide for Sphero Bots mentorship week.
At this point, students should have an understanding of Loops.
We’ll be playing the Toss Game as part of the group activity.
Questions for your mentee:
- Tell me about what you’ve created in the past week?
- What has been a high point for you?
- Tell me what you know about object-oriented programming. What is still confusing to you?
- What do you feel like you need help understanding?
- Is there something you’d like to work on together?
Wanderings Diagrams help students to visually lay out their experiences. Analyzing their diagrams once completed can help students to understand their skills and what they enjoy doing.
Questions to ask after the activity:
- Did you find it helpful to force yourself to organize your thoughts visually in this way?
- What’s one thing that surprised you about yourself as you started to fill out and then make links in your wanderings diagram?
- If you had to sum up your wanderings diagram in a single word, what would that word be?
- Looking at your wanderings diagram, what kind of personal strengths do you think your diagram reveals about you? Try to name three.
Choose an opportunity you would like to pursue, and identify some specific resources to help get started.
Think of an opportunity you would like to get involved with such as a club, a volunteer experience, a job, or an online class.
Once you’ve chosen a specific opportunity, write down:
- Brief description of what the activity is, when it is offered, and how long it takes.
- Prerequisites to the activity, if any, and which ones you still lack.
- Name and contact information of a person who can help you find out more about this activity, or authorize you for the activity.
- Any other information that is important to know about this activity.
- How could your mentor help you pursue this activity?
Finally, reflect on what this opportunity would offer:
Write three detailed reasons why pursuing this activity would be valuable, based on your own academic and career goals.
Python is one of the most popular programming languages and an excellent choice as a student’s first programming language
Python is used for all sorts of scripting applications and for machine learning. It also helps that as learning new languages goes, Python is one of the easier ones to pick up.
If your mentee is interested in learning new programming languages consider Python.
Most of the tutorials and beginning courses I found require signing up. However, the Python documentation has a totally free to use tutorial that’s quite good. It is a bit wordy, however, so if you want to go this route I’d suggest doing the reading ahead of time so you can paraphrase for your mentee.
Resources to Learn Python
One other note, I suggest working with Python 3 as it is the Python of the foreseeable future. It will be better for your mentee to start with Python 3 rather than to learn the soon-to-be-deprecated Python 2.: https://docs.python.org/3/tutorial/index.html
Guru 99 also has Python tutorials that are free to use without registration requirements: https://www.guru99.com/python-tutorials.html
Programiz also has free tutorials that don’t require signing in: https://www.programiz.com/python-programming/first-program
CodeCademy has a free Python 2 course. The Python 3 course is behind a paywall. I don’t recommend this course, but it’s an option, nonetheless: https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-python
This blog post is a bit dated, but the advice is still good. It even has a link to a free online book, “Automate The Boring Stuff With Python” https://opensource.com/life/15/6/6-tips-teaching-kids-code
Program Games with Python
If you’d like to help your mentee make games then you might check out “Making Games with Python & Pygame” It’s viewable for free online at: https://inventwithpython.com/pygame/chapter1.html
Pico-8 is a fantasy video game platform that allows students to write their own 8-bit video games. We have secured an Educator License with Pico-8’s maker, Lexaloffle. A lifetime license only costs $1 so if your mentee is interested, let us know and we’ll secure a license for you and your mentee.
Learn more at https://www.lexaloffle.com/
This code.org activity that introduces students to binary by making a bracelet.
This is a fun activity that can easily be completed inside of an hour, especially when working with one or two students. Use the guide to get started.
Build a Game with Code Monkey
The Code Monkey Game is an interactive program that teaches game development with CoffeeScript. This game is 15 exercises long and requires about an hour to work through.
This is intended to be a living resource to help mentors succeed in their mentorship with Maydm students. If you have suggestions and resources you’d like to share please send us an email at email@example.com with the subject line “Mentorship Resources.”