By Matt Murray, Director of Technology
The Girl Engineers Club debuted last Tuesday, led by our technology integration specialist, Stephanie Johnson. Started in 2015, Girl Engineers was an idea inspired by a Primary Unit classroom reading of Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer and aims to address the underrepresentation of women in the STEM workforce.
The National Girls Collaborative Project, which works toward this same aim, cites data from the National Science Foundation 2016 study to support their urgency in this drive for equality. The study revealed that only 17.5% of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers, 17.1% of industrial engineers, 10.7% of electrical or computer hardware engineers, and 7.9% of mechanical engineers are women.
This fall our young engineers will explore three specific types of engineering – electrical, structural, and environmental – as they build upon their prior knowledge of machines and tools in the framework of the design process. Each club member will ask questions about real-world problems, assess available supplies, research the problem at hand, imagine a solution to the problem, develop a plan for the promising solution, create prototypes, test/evaluate their solutions, and redesign or improve on their initial design.
Tuesday’s first meeting challenged the students to prototype a straw tower, then build that tower with finite supplies (just tape and the least amount of straws possible), and iterate until the tower was as tall as possible, supporting an optimal vertical structure. Following their individual work, our engineers came together to look at one another’s designs, acknowledge how they all could improve upon their own originals, and eventually, collaborate on an even taller, more geometrically sound design structure by using the strengths of each solo project.