Techgirlz Robotics Workshop 2018

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Fifteen middle school girls had an awesome time at Exton Square Mall Saturday afternoon; learning how to program robots!

On September 15th, 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 the third collaboration between Downingtown Area Robotics and Techgirlz. DAR student Akhila stepped up to organize this event; preparing the lesson plans, securing the necessary materials, coordinating with Techgirlz, and recruiting and training additional instructors (Sai, Sushima, Ella and Anshu).

In this TechShop, DAR team members Akhila, Sai, Sushima, Ella and Anshu 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 XIV made an appearance at the end of the workshop, as team members drove the robot. 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 Exton Square Mall 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.

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