Writeup by Laura Christenson. Photographs by Andrea Mascher, Kim Ostler, and Deb Walton.
Girls Tech Career Day 2017 – A Strong Partnership with Iowa City Community Schools
On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, the Iowa Tech Chicks held its 5th annual Girls Tech Career Day. 40 girls in grades 5-8 participated. This year, Iowa City area schools nominated girls to attend. Schools represented included South East Junior High, Lucas, Mark Twain, and Grant Wood elementary schools. Look for representation from different Iowa City Community School District schools next year.
This event depends on community support, so we owe a big THANK YOU to our Girls Tech Career Day 2017 sponsors. This year, ACT provided a sizable donation, which we used to cover a large portion of the day’s costs.
Registration and Welcome Activities
First, the girls registered and received official Girls Tech Career Day 2017 t-shirts.
Then, Beth Rissman, this year’s volunteer coordinator, grouped girls into squads of 10. After the girls signed in, they met their team captains.
During open times throughout the day, volunteers and girl attendees enjoyed using a photo booth to commemorate the day. We borrowed this booth from the Coralville Public Library.
Iowa Tech Chicks set up a dozen Sphero robots in another room for girls to play with as well.
Girls split into two groups. Both groups participated in all activities. The Iowa City Steam Fab Lab taught the girls about soldering, electrical circuits, and computer graphic design.
Each girl made a working flashlight and put her name on the flashlight using a laser cutter.
Volunteers from the National Advanced Driving Simulator taught girls about the dangers of distracted driving. This year, the girls toured the facility and saw the big simulator.
They got to see first hand (via the driving simulator) how dangerous it is to text and drive.
We hosted a number of Girls Tech Career Day groups yesterday and can’t get enough of this video! In it, a student is trying to read a text while driving one of our miniSims. Watch to the end to see how well she does. We love the reaction from the group! @iowatechchicks pic.twitter.com/p6NcJ6t2l6
— UI Driving Sim (@DrivingSim) November 16, 2017
Women from ConnectFive, a user experience company, led another activity. Girls learned about Internet-connected devices and brainstormed different ways they could be used to create a new useful product.
As you can see, the girls came up with some pretty creative ideas!
Interactive Activity Demonstrates Engineering Concepts
Girls learned about engineering with an activity led by a Project Lead the Way student Abigail from Iowa City West High School. Abigail led an activity called “Protect the Pringle.”
This activity challenged the girls to package a single Pringle so the contraption could withstand three secret tests (a fall, heavy weight and be submerged underwater). First, teams of girls were given a large strip of masking tape and some sheets of paper.
Then Abigail tested each team’s package.
Of course, there were a few Pringle packages that didn’t survive at first. The girls got a second chance to protect the Pringle, now that they knew the challenges.
Here’s a photo of all of our girls this year!