“Look!” exclaimed nine year old Little Miss Techie as she ran to meet me after school, arms outstretched. In one hand she held a small paper lantern with an opening the size of a pea that had been covered in electrical tape. In the other, she held little light bulbs- the size of the ones on a string of holiday lights- that were wired to a coin battery. She inserted one of the lights into the lantern, pushed the battery, and lit her lantern.
The origami lantern is just one of the things that she’s made in her electronics class. This semester she’s been learning the basics of electricity and electronics through hands-on experimenting and building. It began with building circuits to learn about series/parallel, basic logic, lights/sounds, burglar alarms, and AM radios and transmitters. Starting with the basics, the kids have now progressed to building AM radios, origami lanterns powered by LED lights, and will be making a home made burglar alarm out of common household materials and a buzzer next week!
Understanding electronics through circuitry is the perfect blend of science, technology, engineering, and math— STEM topics. While my daughter has been introduced to engineering and has mentors in science related fields, many girls are not as fortunate.
Today is the start of National Engineers Week, a week designated by Engineers Week Foundation to build awareness about the work that engineers do. Part of the week includes Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is designed to teach girls about all the different jobs that engineers do, the many types of engineering, connect with engineers in your area, and teach families how you can integrate engineering into your home through hands on engineering activities.
Here are the details:
What: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day #STEMchat
When: Wednesday, February 20 at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT
Where: #EweekGD #STEMchat
Who: Here is the complete list of panelists:
- Jennifer Wright, @RocketScientist, a Lockheed Martin engineer, STEM mentor, world traveler, and #NASASocial alum.
- DeeAnn Turpin, @BioEnggCat13, a member of 2011’s inaugural class of New Faces of Engineering, College Edition and student of Biological Systems Engineering at Kansas State University.
- Sara Hawkins, @Saving4Someday, is a STEM-loving mom to one precocious tween girl who loves all things STEM, violin, glitter, tape, and making.
- Leticia Barr, @TechSavvyMama, is a mom of 2 elementary aged children who uses her experience as a former teacher and technology specialist for a large DC Metro to champion STEM learning in her own kids while providing tips for her TechSavvyMama.com readers on integrating STEM topics at home. She also shares tech savvy goodness at her Tech Savvy Parents column on Parents.com.
- Shelly Kramer, @ShellyKramer, is the founder + CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. She is a brand strategist serving clients in both the B2B and B2C space. She’s also the mother of four daughters and passionate about STEM education and opportunities for girls.
- Kelly Whalen @CentsibleLife, is a blogger, social media consultant, and tech-loving mom of four kids, some of whom are active in the VEX robotics league.
I am a compensated panelist for the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day #STEMchat. Images courtesy of Engineers Week Foundation.