Robotics Challenge Team
City Shaper and Boomtown Build were the FIRST Lego League themes of the robotics competitions for the 2020 series. Girls were challenged to envision the city of the future. The girls and young women from the communities served by GSCM's Rockin' Robotics program had no difficulty in identifying issues in their neighborhoods. They then were challenged to find solutions that were rooted in science, engineering and technology. Girl Scouts from Baltimore City and Harford County each took different approaches to problem identification and problem solving. One team designed a crane that became an elevator to address accessibility issues in their community. Another team designed a new model of lift that became an entryway. The imagination and creativity of the girls were equalled only by their tenacity and problem solving skills. After the discovery and challenge sessions were complete, and girls received awards for their robots and presentation boards, these young women asked to continue with Girl Scouts Robotics. Currently, GSCM has 53 girls participating in virtual robotics sessions during the summer, which has required us to revamp the materials, tools available, and delivery methods.
The challenges presented upon the onset of a worldwide pandemic required that GSCM find new ways to reach and inspire girls in STEM. The primary challenge was that posed by the Digital Divide. It was because of COVID19 that we all became aware of the disparity in access to technology throughout many areas in Central Maryland. Families were sharing one computer that children needed for their school work. Often, several children needed access to a computer for their synchronous virtual classwork at exactly the same time that a sibling needed access. In many of our rural communities, there is no internet available. In urban areas, the monthly fees for internet access are prohibitive, so families do not have internet in their homes. Many families were also impacted by business closures and loss of employment in our community. GSCM has witnessed a new and growing need among its families for resources to help their daughters remain connected and learning.
GSCM has secured hardware through restricted gifts from local philanthropies and from a colleague non-profit organization, the Digital Harbor Foundation. They are actively seeking computers (new and used) which they refurbish and provide to children and families at no cost. Computers help them help Girl Scouts. Please cut and paste this url into your browser bar to access this opportunity to help. www.digitalequitybaltimore.org/donate-devices
GSCM is working to close this digital divide so that the most vulnerable families are supported in obtaining the hardware and broadband access needed to continue their academic and youth enrichment activities. Access to internet is the next frontier. Besides enrolling families in special broadband discount programs, GSCM is seeking support to provide hot spots to families. Your support is needed now more than every to allow girls to experience some stability in their lives, some certainty that they can rely on and stay connected to their mentors, troop leaders, and STEM teams.
Design solution for Boomtown Build 2020