Techgirlz Robotics Workshop 2016
Nineteen middle school girls had an awesome time at TCHS Saturday afternoon; learning how to program robots!
On September 17th, Downingtown Area Robotics hosted an all-girls workshop sponsored by TechGirlz, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit dedicated to educating girls in various STEM topics, and ultimately, reducing the gender gap in technology occupations.
The workshop was a first collaboration between Downingtown Area Robotics and Techgirlz. DAR students Laura and Akhila stepped up to organize this event; preparing the lesson plans, securing the necessary materials, coordinating with Techgirlz, and recruiting and training additional instructors (Katie and Sai).
In this TechShop, DAR team members Akhila, Katie, Laura, and Sai led the girls through two difficult programming challenges using NXT Mindstorms kits. First, the girls developed a program that had their robot follow a line using purely directional code. They used math and critical thinking skills to work out the problem, and the success of their work was followed by another, more difficult, challenge. This one taught the girls how to use the built-in color sensor to follow a blue line taped on the floor. Throughout the TechShop, attendees learned about various programming tools including sensors, “MyBlocks”, line followers, and much more.
Additionally, DEWbot XII made an appearance at the beginning of the workshop, as team members drove the robot and even shot some high goals. This feature inspired the girls to continue to pursue robotics and STEM in the future. The goal of this TechShop was to generate excitement for STEM, and show the girls that joining the currently male-dominated field is far from impossible.
The workshop was a wonderful success and we look forward to following up with more.
Downingtown Area Robotics is a nonprofit organization operating out of the TCHS offering coeducational FIRST Robotics programs to area middle and high school students. Techgirlz is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations by focusing on girls at the crucial middle school age.