Earning badges through robotics, Girl Guides learning about careers in STEM

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WATCH: The University of Saskatchewan is helping introduce Girl Guides to a potential future in engineering – May 12, 2019

The number of women entering into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields has been increasing in recent years, but there is still a gender gap.

The University of Saskatchewan is working towards helping introduce more young women to careers in STEM by hosting the Girl Guides for some hands-on learning.

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Fifty Girl Guides rolled up their sleeves on Saturday to learn about digital literacy, mining and robotics.

Nathan Duncan, with Finning Canada, explained they didn’t give the girls a manual and instead want see what they create.

“We are using Lego robotics,” he said. “It would simulate what a mining machine might do in a coal or a uranium mine.”

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Rosario Barba is a part of SCI-FI Science Camps and helping run the hands-on learning day for the girls. She explained women are generally underrepresented in STEM fields.

“We want to reach out to girls who don’t normally see STEM field” she said. “When they’re young is when they’re getting excited about art and we also want to get them excited about science.”

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Barba explained they see a large number of girls losing interest in certain activities when they’re in Grade 5, and they want to rev up science and tech.

“It really is a time to teach,” she said. “Just because you are not good now and your grades don’t reflect that, it does not mean it’s not an exciting field for you to contribute too.”

Duncan said the girls were very keen to ask questions about mining and understanding how they could apply that knowledge to their Lego creations.

“They’re like a sponge right now,” he said. “Anything they can get their hands on to teach them about STEM is going to provide them opportunity in the future.”

The 6-to-12 year olds will use the day of exploring the field of STEM to help them earn an engineering badge for their local Girl Guides of Canada chapters.


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