Gaming, Girls and STEM

Gaming, Girls and STEM

Here’s an interesting article about getting more girls interested in STEM (and why getting to them in middle school/9th grade is crucial).
On a related note is this article, State’s students flocking to computer-science programs, in which I learned that our WA state legislature has earmarked $18M for CS programs in colleges and that only 35 of the state’s 771 high schools offer AP Computer Science. 
Related articles

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

In our Introduction to Engineering course (PLTW) we studied the evolution of products using the toothbrush as an example. Here’s an interesting  update on that common object and how/why people still can innovate around it. A good example to prime the pump for identifying a problem to solve in our senior projects class. 

Why aren’t more girls in STEM?

This is a topic of great interest to me and probably should be a separate blog.

There was an informative piece on NPR radio August 9 that addresses the challenge, Why Aren’t More Girls Attracted To Physics? A new study points to the crucial importance of local community role modelswomen in STEM fields–in influencing the choices younger women are making about STEM education and careers.

  • Three years ago I obtained funding to offer an all-girls week long summer robotics camp. My vision was to eventually replace myself and the young men seving as mentors from our school’s robotics team with women teachers and female student mentors–female role models. This year it happened! We had an all female staff and some 40 middle school girls participate.
  • My teaching partner in this is starting her own organization locally to expand this camp idea. My partner is a female middle school teacher who works in a high poverty school and has started LEGO Robotics and her all-girl MESA team made it to nationals this year!

It’s awkward: I always feel creepy when I attend school and community events with my students and try to recruit more girls for STEM programs at my school, “Hey little girl… ” eeeew!!). And it also sounds weird when I say “I’m looking for women… ” But I am! I am seeking women (see, doesn’t that seem awkward?) to serve as mentors for my pre-engineering and robotics classes at my school.

Related Articles:


Mechatronics courses and degrees

Mechatronics courses and degrees

Mechatronics integrates a number of technical disciplines to create “robots”-electro-mechanical machines/systems that perform work.

While engineers design these systems, it takes skillful technicians to operate, maintain and repair these “robots.” This link leads to one of the few community college programs in the country that offers a degree in Mechatronics. Locally Clark College has recently added mechatronics courses .


You Know You Can’t Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle… or can you?

You Know You Can’t Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle… or can you?

Needs versus Wants and Planned Obsolescence:

Do you really need that upgrade? Do you really believe in green consumerism?

In 2007, Americans upgraded their phones every 18.7 months on average; three years later, that number had stretched to 21.1 months. In Finland (home to Nokia among other technology companies), people now wait 74.5 months to upgrade, compared with 41.8 months in 2007.

  • Planned Obsolescence ( NOTE: “Planned Obsolescence” is a documentary made by Eva Vidal and Carla Casado, two sixteen-year-old International Baccalaureate students at Colegio Montserrat in Barcelona, Spain. This is a VERY WELL MADE and informative video ~20 minutes in length.