Iowa Tech Chicks teamed up with the Fab Lab on January 4, 2018 to build mini flashlights. 11 girls ages 10 and up attended. The class cost $20 a girl and was three hours long. Michelle Knedler wrote a recap of the event.
My kids love technology – playing games, chatting with friends, etc. But using and building are two different things. So, last Thursday, with my grumbling daughter in tow, we went to the Iowa City STEAM FabLab to make mini flashlights.
The great thing about this project was that it was hands on. They got to solder the wires to form a complete circuit. Then they pieced together the flashlight parts. Lastly, they laser cut a message onto the wood exterior. As a parent I also loved having something come home that had a practical use, rather than something that falls into the abyss of my daughter’s junk drawer.
I’m sure we can all relate to the frustration of working with technology. Either the uncertainty of what you’re doing, or running into undesirable behavior. The girls experienced frustration as they tried to get all of their components to fit into the small flashlight box. They also had to make the LED light up successfully.
As a grownup it’s easy to want to sweep in and fix it for them. But when we do this we’re taking away some of their learning. We’re also removing some of the pride of ownership they will feel when they solve the problem.
A good part of engineering is dealing with failure and overcoming it.
Even though it is hard to do, we need to give our youth the space for trial and error. A good part of engineering is dealing with failure and overcoming it. As a reward we get the joy of being a part of introducing something new into the world. On this day we got to bring more light into the world.
Here are some photos we took of the class that day: