Girl Scouts STEAM Ahead: Workshop Held in Porterville


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Girl Scout Troop 2770 Leader Elvira Sanchez, who’s also a teacher at Burton Elementary School, and Mary Higgins, who’s also a Girl Scout Leader, were at the old Kiwanis Club building near the corner of Newcomb and Morton on Northwest side of the street to hold a STEAM Workshop.

A STEAM Workshop organized by Candice Blair, who works for the Girls Scouts Council in the counties of Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties, was being held for five hours at the Kiwanis building. Blair had received a grant from Southern California Edison for the workshop to help girls experience science, technology, engineering, art, and math in a non-competitive, and no pressure environment.

Blair was excited to hold the workshop and a number of girls from the local scouts participated. She said three Girl Scout robotics teams from Fresno and Lemoore had recently gone to the finals.

The girls were well into working on their circuitry boards and putting together their robots, and the object was to get both wheels turning at different rates, so an attached pen could draw on paper using the robots.

Jazmin Rodriguez, 11, attends Burton Elementary School, and was diligently working on her circuit board and already had assembled her robot. She said, “This is fun. And it shows me how the cables and everything works together.”

Twins Wren and Phoenix Higgins were together on their own robotics module. Phoenix said, “This is actually fun for me, even though I look stressed out.” Her sister Wren, put blue tape on the module to keep it together. 

Another Girl Scout Leader, Cindy Levario, said, ”Being a leader was challenging at first, but after six or seven years, it’s been a really good experience.”

Both Higgins and Sanchez said there are many girls who want to join Girl Scouts, but locally they need women to join as leaders. They both said, “The leaders and parents have as much fun, if not more, than the girls.”

Daniela Maciel, 13, who attends Summit Charter Intermediate Academy was also working hard to get her robot working perfectly. She said, “It really gets your brain working, and you have to think about what you’re doing. And you have to reflect on what you do, and try to fix it, depending upon what you did before.”

“This is very interesting,” said Phoebe Mora, 15, who attends Summit Charter Collegiate Academy. “I’ve had experience in building other robots. It’s fun, and it gives you an opportunity to be creative.”

The object of building the first robots, using batteries, circuit boards, gears, wheels and electricity, was to make a robot with two wheels, one wheel spinning faster than the other, to which the girls would attach a pen. Then the robot would draw on the paper. 

The girls had a lot of fun with that project. When all done, they cleaned up the supplies in an orderly manner and then had lunch.

After lunch the girls continued with the second STEAM project, directed by Blair, who said, “We are always really excited about bringing new opportunities to the girls that allows them to practice new skills that may spark an interest in what they might want to pursue in school or later in life. 

“Girl Scouts is about more than selling cookies. We are committed to building the leaders of tomorrow and we are confident that those leaders are our girls.”

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