Hello from the blustery city of Fargo, North Dakota, home of the two-time National Football Champions, the North Dakota State Bison! Fargo is also home to the NDSU section of the Society of Women Engineers. This 2012-2013 school year has been a busy one for our section. With a total of 48 members (a 118% increase from last year) we have been involved with a number of outreach programs including two events with the Fargo-Moorhead Girl Scouts, a one-day event during E-Week with children of employees of Ulteig (a local Fargo company), and our most prized program: TechGYRLS.
TechGYRLS, offered since Fall 2003, is a 10-week after-school program to introduce young women to science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and is a bi-annual program. The program, for third through seventh grade girls, is held on NDSU’s campus on Mondays and Tuesday from 4:00-6:00pm. The College of Engineering and Architecture and the NDSU student section of the Society of Women Engineers sponsor this program. Participants engage in a variety of activities, from designing a robot to creating a life-size Angry Birds simulation, or even racing a hydrogen car. We are most proud of this program and we want to share it with you! Below are five simple steps to get TechGYRLS started on your campus! Hail the Bison!
TechGYRLS: 5 Easy Steps to Start Your Own
1. The foundation of TechGYRLS is the girls. Our program is focused on teaching STEM concepts to girls in 3rd through 7th grade. To start off every year, an advertisement is placed in the local school newspapers, trying to get our word out and gain as much interest as possible.
2. It couldn’t be done without our SWE members! Early in the year, a group of SWE members gather and plan the 10 sessions that we offer. This includes planning what lessons will be taught, as well as who would like to lead every lesson.
3. Don’t forget about the parents! Parents love to know what their daughters are taking part in. After the girls are registered, a Welcome Packet is sent, containing anything and everything TechGYRLS. Throughout the year, a weekly note is sent home with the girls, and e-mails are sent often.
4. The girls LOVE their snacks. Once the schedule is set and the sessions start, it is important to ensure that you have all of your needed supplies. Things run smoothly if you have everything separated and ready at the start of each week. One needed supply is the snack that starts off each session!
5. Structures are important. And I don’t just mean a lesson on structures! Each class is structured similarly. We always start with a snack and talk about a certain type of engineering, followed by the lesson introduction and directions. After the activity, the class ends with the girls writing about the day in their journals.
With these basic steps, everything is set up and ready for you to run a successful outreach program such as TechGYRLS. Good luck, and have fun!