Thursday, July 31, 2014

Girl Scouts Explore STEM through LEGO Series

A group of Girl Scouts in Hampton have been hard at work this summer engineering bridges, building towers and constructing homes one LEGO brick at a time as part of a summer series hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. This series was designed for girls to be able to participate in hands-on experiences that introduce them to concepts and activities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

During the series sessions, each Girl Scout is given a BuildToExpress LEGO kit, which contains over 200 LEGO elements, including colorful bricks, figures and accessories that will allow the girls to let their creativity come to life. When the girls met on June 23, they went over the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which outline how people should act towards one another. Then, each girl chose a component of the Law and illustrated it using her LEGO kit. From garden scenes full of flowers making the world a better place to LEGO figures being friendly and helpful, each girl had the opportunity to build with creativity.

When girls explore and discover with LEGOs, no matter what they build, they are using their imagination and practicing the basics of engineering, all while having fun. It’s a chance for them to figure out how pieces fit together, test physics by seeing how high they can stack bricks, create a visual display of ideas that they have in their head and connect with their peers as they share ideas.

This series, which was designed to open up a future in STEM for the girls who participate, was funded by Alcoa Foundation, an organization established by Alcoa, a mining, manufacturing and innovation company that makes a positive difference in sustainability by investing in the community to support education and environmental programs. Last October, the foundation awarded Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast with $20,000 to implement STEM education programs in Hampton.

In today’s world, where only about 25 percent of STEM careers are held by women, it is more important than ever to expose girls to a world of possibilities. The informal curriculum of Girl Scouts allows girls to discover what they are capable of, connect with one another to work as part of a tem and take action to become resourceful problem solvers. Girl Scouts delivers this curriculum in a comfortable, all-girl environment, where girls are more likely to ask questions, try new things and take risks because they do not have to worry about fitting into gender roles they may encounter at school.