Science, technology, engineering and maths have been traditionally male-dominated sectors. But things are changing. Irish women are becoming increasingly involved in STEM and our schoolgirls are no different. Over the weekend, 200 members of the Irish Girl Guides showcased a range of innovative water-conservation solutions.
The Brownies, all aged between seven and 10, worked in teams of four; researching the issue of water sustainability and exploring innovative ways to preserve water. To make things more interesting, they used Lego to create their conservation models.
Over the space of five weeks, each team designed, built and programmed an autonomous motorised Lego model, incorporating a range of sensors and motors. Each team also designed a poster with diagrams of the solutions they had come up with; the feasibility of executing the project and details of the programme used.
Members of Prosperous Brownies, Co Kildare, showcasing their innovative water solution at the Irish Girl Guides Innovatively Engaging with STEM Expo in Dublin City University. From left: Kate Hamill (8), Mary Cummins (8) and Ellen Suttle (9)
Then, at an expo in DCU on Saturday, the girls displayed their projects and were on hand to explain to families, friends and visitors the creative solutions they had come up with.
Irish Girl Guides Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon said, “Irish Girl Guides believes in challenging stereotypes and we have undertaken a number of initiatives in recent years to encourage our members to pursue STEM subjects in school and to consider pursuing careers in STEM.” She added, “We are committed to encouraging our girls to dream big and to take action to make a difference in their local communities and in the wider world.”
This project, called Irish Girl Guides Innovatively Engaging with STEM (IGGIES), is just the beginning. While it was undertaken solely by Brownies in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare; Helen Concannon looks forward to rolling out the programme to members in other counties over the coming months.
Top photo: Members of Whitechurch Gold Brownies showcasing their Lego water project at the Irish Girl Guides Innovatively Engaging with STEM Expo in Dublin City University. From left: Sasha Leeson (10), Emma O'Donnell (9) and Ellen Suttle (8).