Girls in STEM Tech Retreat 2016


Inspiring and encouraging confidence, developing leadership skills, learning through interactive activities, and more, are all things that we strive to do at every Girls in STEM program here at the Keystone Science School. Girls in STEM began in April of 2015 and since then we have held eight highly successful programs each with its own unique theme (Build-A-Thon, Maximizing Momentum, Exploring Environments, etc.) This includes new efforts to take Girls in STEM on the road to hold programming off of the KSS campus.

Programs are for girls 3rd-7th grade from all over Colorado. We have had girls from Summit, Lake, Grand, and Denver counties in attendance. At each program, the girls are challenged to use the engineering design process to create, test, recreate, and re-test prototypes within the theme of the day. While going through their projects, they internally reflect through the use of a journal, improve their teamwork and leadership skills, and (of course) have a really good time!

I have participated in four programs so far, and each program leaves me inspired and encouraged to continue this amazing work we do at the Keystone Science School. I have seen girls create hydraulic arms, air filters, balloon powered cars, catapults, video games, and more, all with their own ingenuity and creativity. I am always so impressed by the group of girls that come to the programs to learn and enjoy STEM on their weekends.

Our latest Girls in STEM program was held November 4th-6th and involved a day program as well as our first ever Girls in STEM Weekend Retreat! What a success! In both programs, the girls completed projects surrounding technology, computer science, and coding. The girls at the day program were grades 3rd-5th and they learned about pixels, binary, basic computer programming, and simple video game creation. The girls at the tech retreat were in grades 4th-7th. Their challenge was to come up with an issue that interested them and then create a webpage that would help bring awareness or combat this problem. They learned how to code in HTML and CSS to create their webpages. Both programs ended with really great prototypes that the girls were excited to share with their friends and family.

The girls at the day program presented their end projects to their parents by talking about what they learned and showing their video game on a big projector. The last comment that was made during a presentation was a girl who said: “I learned that girls can do anything!”. The girls who participated in the retreat were able to show their webpages in a “science fair” style presentations where families got to walk around and see all the websites. Before they were released to see all the projects, the girls gave a quick overview of what they did over the weekend, which ended in a girl saying: “I learned that girls are really smart!” These two comments alone made by separate girls in two different programs, showed me that Girls in STEM at KSS really is meeting the goals we set. The girls at these programs leave feeling empowered to learn more and excited about being a girl in STEM.

I’m so proud to be a part of Keystone Science School and the Girls in STEM program, and you should be too! This week is Computer Science Education week, and in honor of this awesome week, I encourage you to learn more about Girls in STEM and the programs that we have coming up. The girls at the retreat made some really awesome websites (funny puns, saving libraries, helping the environment, and more). So to add a little positivity to your day, check out the girl’s amazing websites here:

Nature News  By: Claire and Tessa

Save the Ice!  By: Amelia and Izzie

Cheer Me Up!  By: Mayan, Nava and Maia

Pollution Effects on the World   By: Kayla and Marin

YaY!  By: Devon and Emily

Random Compliments  By: Logan and Charlotte

T and E Mindfulness   By: Talia and Ella

Save Grand County Library  By: Aida and Eowyn

Nutrition Busters  By: Sophia and Susie

Narwhals!  By: Makena and Steffi

Check out the Girls in STEM webpage to find out more about the program, how to become a volunteer mentor, and how to sign your girls up for our next programs to be held in February (Build-a-Thon) and April (Maximizing Momentum). Check it out and become part of the KSS community!