Hands-on engineering problems challenged the math and problem-solving skills of local Girl Scouts at the November 9 "Taste of Engineering" event at Ivy Tech Community College—Wabash Valley. Sixteen girls ages 11-14 worked in teams along side faculty mentors during this pilot event.
The goals of the Taste of Engineering program are three-fold: introduce females to engineering concepts; give participants a better understanding of the importance of science and math in engineering practice; and give young women the confidence to consider engineering as a future career.
"For a lot of our girls, this was an opportunity to explore engineering in a girl-only environment. They tried things they might not have with boys present," said Jaime Hubbard, program development manager for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.
The girls did three hour-long activities that included building wind-powered mobiles, testing the height and stability in tower building using different shaped marshmallows, and creating motion in mobiles by using mouse traps as an energy source.
"As a teacher, the thing I enjoyed most is that the students were always engaged. Nobody was twiddling their thumbs or bored," said David Will, dean of the school of technology at Ivy Tech. Will expects the program to grow in popularity as part of the Girls Scouts' catalog of activities.
The program is a pilot that will expand in the coming year with the help of a $1,000 grant from the Indiana Girls Collaborative. "We are always finding creative, innovative ways to partner with area organizations and to engage students with Ivy Tech," said Will.
In addition to exploring skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the girls got "an opportunity to get on the Ivy Tech campus to see options for college," said Hubbard.