Since 2018, we—FRC Team 1678, Citrus Circuits from Davis, California—have been hosting WiSE, or Women in STEM Empowerment events (more info can be found in the February 2023 newsletter and our website). Normally, these monthly events include stations of STEM experiments guided by female 1678 volunteers meant to engage girls 3rd through 8th grade and inspire them to take interest in STEM. However, to enliven our October event, we decided to make the activities Halloween themed. Additionally, unlike our typical WiSE event, which is done in the library, we decided the location this time to be the space outside our robotics classroom so that we were able to demonstrate our robot and show it in action to participants.
On the day of the event, our volunteers guided students through activities such as making structures of DNA using Q-tips and pipe cleaners. Our Halloween themed activities included making tissue paper ghosts fly through magnetism and building the tallest and most stable ghost tower using toothpicks and styrofoam balls. However, the most popular activity was making a screaming ghost balloon. Students, and even some curious parents, put a hex nut in a balloon and swirled it so that the friction between the hex nut and the balloon would create a “screaming” sound. We reached over 40 participants who came to not only enjoy these engaging activities, but also to watch our 2022 competition robot in action. Students had the opportunity to interact with it, feeding it cargo (oversized red and blue tennis balls) and catching the cargo it shoots. Our volunteers also answered questions regarding how the robot was built and what the game the robot played was, as well as general questions about our team.
As the number of girls participating in our events increase every month, we hope that more young girls are inspired to take interest in STEM through WiSE and that our volunteers stand to be role models for them to join the vibrant FIRST community.
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