While some girls’ interest in STEAM starts to wane in middle school, you’d never know it at Girls Inc. of Alameda County. Building confidence in STEAM means tackling hands-on projects and learning new skills, all with a healthy dose of fun. This month at Girls Inc, more than twenty 8th and 9th grade girls in our Eureka! program explored robotics and engineering and broke into teams to build a rubber band-powered rover that traveled the furthest.
As a team, girls:
- Constructed a rover using given materials
- Tested and redesigned their rover using established Design Process principles
- Finalized their rovers in a culminating test
- Shared out results and recommendations for future designs
Despite equal interest in elementary school, by 8th grade girls are half as interested as boys in STEM careers, limiting their access to rewarding opportunities in tech. By offering hands-on, minds-on STEAM programming, often connected to challenges girls see in their daily lives, we strive to have 70% of our Eureka! girls increase their STEAM engagement and skills.
Eureka! is a 5-year program during which girls explore topics in STEAM fields, visit STEAM workplaces and connect with working professionals – often women of color – who seed future networks. The girls complete 4-week professional summer internships, gain job skills, build confidence, and learn to dream big about their future college and career plans.
As one girl said, “learning about STEAM is hard, but it’s totally worth it.”