Our school emphasizes girls’ participation in STEM fields, and we hope to spread the same message through our outreach efforts. We run activities for STEM Week, open houses, and many family events, inspiring girls to pursue activities in engineering and technology.
NJ STEM GIRLS
Our partnership with NJ STEM Girls began in 2017. One of our team members, Disha '19, had been part of NJ STEM Girls for a couple years, and she introduced us to the organization. Since then, we've attended several presentations and a mixer event at competitions. Our team also volunteered to prepare and lead a presentation about FTC outreach, titled "Connecting with STEM Professionals and Your Community." We're excited to work more with NJ STEM Girls in the seasons to come!
Our team was invited to help out at the inaugural Primary School STEAM Night, an event hosted by our elementary school's tech department. We led an activity with their Dash n' Dot robots, helping them use block code to move the robots around an obstacle course and collect toys. Our goal was to help them discover how exciting and rewarding programming can be--and we definitely achieved that goal. The robots--named after famous women in STEM, including Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper--were the most popular activity of the night.
Since the formation of the team, we have presented and led activities at our school’s annual STEM week. We have presented to the Middle School two years in a row, explaining how the engineering process works and why there’s rarely a project that can’t be improved. We also set up a robotics station at an “innovation workshop” that our math department scheduled--we allowed anyone to drive the robot and ask questions about the process or mechanism.
WONDER LEAGUE ROBOTICS COMPETITION
The 2018-2019 season saw the formation of the Kent Place Primary School’s robotics teams. Two teams of five girls had to complete five missions that presented them with simulated real-world ocean problems that they needed to solve by programming Dash n’ Dot robots. 7,890 teams from 69 countries participated in this year’s competition, and both Kent Place teams qualified for the Invitational Round! Although we didn’t get to work with them much thus far, we’re making plans for how to best support and encourage the teams as their season continues.
FAMILY FUN DAY
Family Fun Day brings volunteers from the high school and middle school together with the younger girls on campus--older students are encouraged to paint faces and run activities. In 2017 and 2018, with a spotlight on our team thanks to our school’s encouragement of girls in STEM, we set up our practice field and helped younger kids drive our robot. The activity was a huge success, with groups of girls waiting to have a chance to drive.
The robotics team has also been present at several Kent Place open houses, letting prospective students drive the robot and ask questions about the team. Kent Place has been rapidly expanding STEM programs, especially in technology, and we wanted to demonstrate to prospective families how our all-girl team has flourished in the past several years.
A year after our team's debut, our school launched FIRST Lego League Team 26631 for girls in 5th through 8th grade. In 2017, FLL Team 33799 was created to accommodate the large numbers of girls who wanted to participate. Both teams have flourished: in the 2017-2018 season: Team 33799 won the Project Award and a member of Team 26631 won a Judges' Award. We've been working to mentor the teams, and hope to expand our collaboration this season.