TechGYRLS program at NDSU teaches girls S.T.E.M. disciplines
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 15:09
TechGYRLS, an after-school program hosted at NDSU, will teach girls principles in math and science hoping to engage them in these disciplines from a young age.
The College of Engineering and Architecture and the NDSU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers will host the 10-week program for third through seventh grade girls.
The lessons are designed and taught by volunteers from SWE, who are undergraduate women students in the college of engineering and architecture.
Katie Scholl, a junior majoring in Industrial Engineering and a member of SWE, has volunteered at TechGYRLS since her freshman year.
This year she is a representative who helps parents in the community register their girls in the program.
Scholl said SWE members are excited to teach new and returning girls about what opportunities they have in the S.T.E.M. fields.
“It’s a cool way to spread your knowledge,” Scholl said. “I really like that new girls are signing up. The word is spreading about it, and that the demand is there.”
Girls have been returning for many years to take part in the program for fall and spring sessions.
The program creates new activities and revamps old ones for each session so returning students will not get bored, and lessons will be edited to be more effective for the girls. SWE takes suggestions from evaluation forms parents and students fill out at the end of the session.
“There are definitely ones that make you smile and say ‘Wow, they really love it,”” Scholl said.
This year a new project will be creating an Angry Birds simulation, which will involve catapults.
Other projects include rockets, hydrogen cars and “geodomes,” which are structures made of rolled newspaper that are tested to see how much weight they can hold before they are crushed.
“This is not a read your book kind of class, there’s activity going on,” Scholl said.
A reoccurring project is building a robot. It takes three weeks of the 10-week session. Scholl said there is a “Robogator” that is built similarly to legos and programmed by a computer.
“[It] responds to motion sensor and it’ll start chomping,” Scholl said. “It’s pretty interesting that it does get so detailed and they learn quite a bit.”
TechGYRLS is an event designed to recruit women into male dominated S.T.E.M. Fields.
“We have been stressing, as a profession, various activities to engage more women across the nation and NDSU College of Engineering and Architecture is also participating,” Dr. Gary Smith, the Dean of College of Engineering and Architecture at NDSU, said.
Smith said 14 percent of undergraduate students in the college of engineering and architecture are female and they are trying to reach the national average of 16-18 percent.
SWE looks for other ways to engage girls in the community with S.T.E.M. disciplines. They taught the Girl Scouts about smoke guns and how they work at Fargo’s Super Spooky Science Day.
TechGYRLS will begin Monday and will continue through Nov. 26th at NDSU.
Girls in grades three and four will meet Mondays and grades five through seven will meet Tuesdays. Both classes meet from 4-6 p.m.
The cost is $50.
A snack will be provided, but students may have to apply scientific and mathematic concepts to receive it.
“We pretended we were chefs and did conversion factors,” Scholl said. “If you want your Goldfish, we have it in tablespoons, but how many teaspoons would it be? If they do the math right they get their snack.”
To register visit: www.ndsu.edu/cea.