G-Force Robotics FRC Team #9008 is an all-girl, community-based FIRST Robotics Competition Team located in Clayton, North Carolina. We at G-Force Robotics have partnered with the Clayton library and Oak Ridge Computer Science Girls (ORCSGirls) out of Tennessee to offer free hybrid Girls Teach Tech classes as a part of our #FIRSTLikeAGirl and #GForceGirlsSOAR initiatives. In the simplest form, we offer these classes as a way to give back to our community. These courses are open to 5th-8th grade girls and this year our classes teach them everything from simple coding to 3D printing to the fundamentals of artificial intelligence. We started doing these Girls Teach Tech classes as a way to inspire younger girls and teach them about STEM.
We are so lucky to have ORCSGirls as a partner to help us with our Girls Teach Tech (GTT) classes. After reaching out to Thomas Proffen, the founder of ORCSGirls, he agreed to help us set up and deliver our classes. So when we do these classes, the ORCSGirls half is online, and then the Girls Teach Tech half is in-person at the Clayton library. Our GTT classes fall under one of our main outreach initiatives, G-Force Girls SOAR. SOAR stands for Success through Outreach, Advocacy and Robotics. We do many things under this initiative in addition to GTT, such as a STEM literacy project, the President’s Volunteer Service Award program, and participation in the National STEM Advocacy Conference.
We believe it is important to start a pipeline now to encourage and inspire young girls to be interested in STEM, which is why we promote it so much. The majority of STEM fields are dominated by men, and women often have to face numerous challenges when pursuing a career in this field. Some of these challenges include not being valued as equal by male co-workers, or people believing that women can’t be as smart or accomplish as much as men can. This is why there is a need to make sure that we, as high school girls, mentor younger girls to inspire and nurture their interests in STEM. We believe creating an all-girl team and hosting these classes is imperative because it's a great opportunity for young girls to get to know other girls with similar STEM interests, and also for us involved in G-Force Robotics, to build bridges for them to follow in our footsteps.
Usually during our GTT classes we have around 15-20 middle school girls that we are teaching in-person at the library, along with about 20-25 students that are virtual. During our classes we will generally start off with icebreakers and introduce the members of the team who are helping with the class. We then move into the first thirty minutes of the class where Dr. Proffen explains the background of what we are learning on a Zoom call. After the background is given, we move on from the Zoom call and break into the in-person section of the activity. This is when our team members volunteering in the library help with hands-on teaching and assist with any questions the students have while completing the activity. These activities can range from designing a necklace with 3-D printing software (BlocksCad3D) that is later printed out and given to them, to making their own virtual reality video game. Additionally, the software these young ladies are being exposed to has many practical uses in the real world which can give them a great head start as they make their way into various STEM fields. The classes in total are approximately two hours, and every class we have hosted with ORCSGirls has been a massive success. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with ORCSGirls and host these classes for such a great cause, and more importantly, to inspire and encourage the next generation of women in STEM!
This blog was written by Katlyn N. (10th grade) and Sloan M. (9th grade) of G-Force Robotics FRC Team #9008. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
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