Two workshops were held at 10am and 1pm for Eastern Massachusetts Girl Scouts. Our part-time teacher, Valerie Perini, conducted a workshop focusing on naval engineering. Girls learned how the fins of tuna fish create vortices when swimming through fluid, decrease drag, and efficiently propel the fish through water despite their large bodies. Girls then constructed their own foils for motorized boats and tested how shape and size could be modified to increase the speed of the machine through water. A total of 33 girls participated in the activity.
Hands-on Activities and Demonstrations
From noon until 4pm demonstrations and activities were held throughout the MIT Museum. Specific organizations and the general public were invited to take part in all activities. A volunteer greeted girls at the entrance of the MIT Museum and provided them with a special “passbook” for the day. Girls were encouraged to participate in activities around the museum and ask questions in order to receive a stamp in their booklet. Upon receiving a total of five stamps they could return to the welcome table to receive a gift bag. There were a total of nine stations facilitated by museum staff, volunteers and MIT students. Those activities and demonstrations included: the MIT Formula 1 race car, the MIT Electric Vehicle team, MIT D-Lab, LEGO DNA, LEGO Mindstorms, a chain reaction building station, a cloud particle chamber, light graffiti, and a laser harp.
Girls RISEnet is honored to have partnered with two White House Champions of Change!
Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, received the White House Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion award in August 2013.
Kimberly was a Girls RISEnet minigrant recipient in 2012, and a guest speaker at the Girls RISEnet National Institute 2013. The minigrant funded “It’s All About Robotics” which was Black Girls Code’s first summer camp. During the summer camp, girls learned about robotics and computer programming using the Arduino LilyPad devices and Lego Mindstorms®. The program also included visits to the Computer History Museum, IBM Almaden research facility, and to the NASA Ames Research Center where the girls interacted with female scientists.
“One of the things that really benefited us in 2012 was the ability to receive a RISEnet grant. And that was what really fueled our summer program, our very first summer camp, that we held in San Francisco. And now that has become one of our major and flagship programs.”
–Kimberly Bryant at the Girls RISEnet National Institute 2013
Dr. Angela Byars-Winston, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, received the White House Champions of Change award in December 2011.
Dr. Byars-Winston was a guest speaker during the Girls RISEnet National Institute 2011. She also developed a regional workshop module for Girls RISEnet on multicultural dynamics in academic and career development in STEM.
President Obama selected Dr. Byars-Winston because of her work in engaging women and minorities in STEM. Her research examines cultural influences on academic and career development, especially for racial and ethnic minorities and women in the sciences, engineering, and medicine with the aim of broadening their participation in STEM. Dr. Byars-Winston has translated her research into evidence-based, culturally-relevant interventions to increase the persistence of underrepresented groups in STEM, working with middle school students to early career professionals.
For more information on Dr. Angela-Byars-Winston, click here.
Bright Futures is a collaborative effort between Entheos Academy (a local public charter school), Salt Lake County 4-H and the Leonardo, a Salt Lake museum focusing on the integration of art, science and technology. Our program has three primary goals: 1. To introduce middle school age girls (grades 6-9) to science and technology in an appealing and interesting way; 2. To develop leadership skills and qualities in program participants; and 3. To bring activities from the museum to younger students who may not have the means or the opportunity to travel to the museum. In surveying the target audience, we found that many of the girls are interested in creativity and the arts. The Leonardo is a great institution for introducing girls to technology because their entire focus is on a combination of art and technology. We met with the museum and developed a plan to have our students work with an education specialist to explore the museum offerings and learn to teach science to younger students. Because of some staff turnover at the Leonardo it took us a while to get started, but once we did, the kids had a great experience!
The youth group named itself the Leonardo Youth Apprentices, as they were "apprenticing" at the museum to teach younger students. On their visits they learned about color, engineering , mechanics, electricity, and many other topics. After each visit we would hold a meeting with our "Youth Apprentices", and they would plan STEM activities for kids in grades K-5. We held a monthly after school club where the youth taught the younger students. Two of our "Youth Apprentices" also held a three-day summer Citizen Science camp, where young kids from the community learned about getting involved in citizen science initiatives. The camp was youth-planned and youth-led, benefiting both the leaders and the participants. Also as a result, we have developed a "Powder Puff" First Lego League team consisting of 10 girls of varying ages and ethnicities. This team is coached by two high school age Youth Apprentices.
We are hoping to continue this program indefinitely. We have been able to subsidize our efforts by asking the kids to pay a nominal fee, and by receiving a grant to fund a Mindstorms robot and field kit. We are hoping to find other funding to allow us to continue monthly visits to the Leonardo, but this funding has not yet been secured. This program has been a delightful experience for us. We are so grateful for the opportunity to use this grant to reach girls in an innovative way.
Hosted by Explora, the Girls RISEnet regional hub in Albuquerque, representatives from all eleven Girls RISEnet regional hub institutions met October 22-24 to expand their knowledge and skills to deliver a new year of Girls RISEnet professional development workshops. Each regional hub team also had an opportunity to share ways that their involvement with Girls RISEnet has impacted their region, institution, and their own lives.
Girls RISEnet Regional hub teams participated in Programmable Plush: Girl-Friendly Coding, an exciting new hands-on computer science activity designed to learn to program Arduino LilyPads. Each participant used their creativity to make their own plush toy with LEDs that they learned to program.
Girls RISEnet was honored to have several presenters add their expert knowledge on engaging girls in STEM. Melissa Koch, Director of ICT4me, led Girls RISEnet leaders through a “Design Your World” challenge where everyone used the design process to invent something to meet a friend’s need. Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls Code, shared how she is turning a small local initiative into a national network that teaches girls coding skills. Sylvia Acevedo, rocket scientist and STEM leader, shared her personal story and strategies on engaging families in culturally inclusive ways.
Guest presenters included:
Sylvia Acevedo, rocket scientist, engineer, business executive, community leader, and member of the National Girl Scouts of America Board of Directors, was appointed in 2011 to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Using her engineering skills, she has designed targeted, scalable strategies and solutions. She works with executives and institutions to plan and respond to changing population shifts.
Kimberly Byrant founded Black Girls CODE to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up. In August 2013 she was named one of 11 White House Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion —leaders who have done extraordinary work to connect children from underrepresented and underserved communities to tech skills and opportunities.
Melissa Koch is a writer, innovator, and entrepreneur. She specializes in leading multidisciplinary teams in the research and development of engineering, computer science, and technology-based gender-equitable curricula for learning in and out of school. She has created several programs that have achieved scale and sustainability, including the award-winning NSF-funded Build IT and InnovaTE3 curricula. Currently, she is Senior Educational Developer at the Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) at SRI International. She is also Director of ICT4me, a sister program to Build IT.
Sheena Laursen serves as Director of International Relations at the Experimentarium in Copenhagen, Denmark. She currently works with ENGINEER (BrEaking New Ground IN the SciencE Education Realm), a multinational project to support widespread adoption in Europe of innovative methods of science teaching and training on inquiry-based methods. Recently, she coordinated ‘Towards Women in Science and Technology” (TWIST) project and is very passionate about focusing on developing activities and exhibits to become ‘gender inclusive’.
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