December 9, 2012

Celebrating S.T.E.M.!

This weekend Girl Scouts celebrated science, technology, engineering and math at our first ever Girls in STEM event- The Next 100 Years.  This was our first attempt at offering girls an opportunity to meet women from their community who work in STEM fields while also sampling many of our own STEM focused council programs.  Held in Lancaster, we had over 80 girls and adults attend along with several community partners who brought along activities and information to share with us!

Girls and Adults were able to participate together to explore many STEM concepts.  DeVry University brought along information about STEM careers and offered everyone a chance to play with some cool snap circuits!  This was a popular stop!

 We had two wonderful female veterinarians from Fairfield Vet Hospital come to talk to the girls about what it is like to be a vet.  They had lots of information for girls to take home to learn more about animal care and how to become a vet. They even brought along their special friend, Emma, the springer spaniel. You can imagine that this was a very well loved dog! Many of the girls said that being a vet is something they can really see themselves exploring after meeting these 2 amazing women.
Two women from MathPlus Academy joined us to share with girls that math can be FUN!  They had to choose from several different lego cars to determine which one would go the fastest on the test ramp. Girls had to look at how each car was designed and talk about how that design might help it to be the fastest car.  This was a great opportunity to use critical thinking skills. Thanks MathPlus!
Girls and adults had an opportunity to see what it would be like to be a computer programmer. Our female IT specialist created a program in which participants had to do a little computing to discover the “bug” in the program. Looks like this Girl Scout is up for the challenge!
These two look like they are really thinking about their impact on the earth!  In the Eco Footprint game, participants had to look at the choices they make each day and see the impact those choices have on the Earth’s resources. Questions include choices we make each day with our food consumption, transportation, and water usage.  How many Earth’s would it take to sustain YOUR lifestyle?

After learning about how our choices impact the Earth’s resources, we explored green materials with Girls Go Techbridge. This is a matching game where you have to match the raw/recyclable materials to the products that you can make for use in designing green buildings and homes. 
 Participants had to challenge their building and designing skills in the KNEX challenge.  This Girl Scout struck out on her own to build an even more difficult design. Look at how proud she is of her accomplishment!

We also had a Girl Scout volunteer from the local service unit come to talk about what it is like to be a civil engineer. She had the participants role play as engineers solving problems and building tools that can help civil engineers accomplish tasks.  These Junior Girl Scouts look ready for the challenge!

So as you can see, girls and adults were highly engaged in STEM activities during this event. The hope was that many girls left this program feeling more confident in their interest in science, technology, engineering and math.  During our reflection time after the event, the girls shared their favorite activities and talked about ways they can explore their passions.  A few girls added STEM aspirations to their ‘to do’ lists after meeting the amazing women who work in STEM fields every day.  The plan is to re-create this event all four regions of our council so that all girls have a chance to see what STEM is all about!

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