DCU, Lego and Eir­grid pro­vide great camp for lo­cal girl guide mem­bers

Mid Louth Independent - - NEWS -

LO­CAL Girl Guides de­signed, built and pro­grammed Lego ro­bots at a sum­mer camp run by DCU LearnIT Lego and Eir­grid in Bel­turbet, Co Ca­van.

The camp, which in­cluded many fun and a chal­leng­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, helped the girls to de­velop skills in sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics (STEM).

The girls from Drogheda, Louth vil­lage, Monaster­boice and Kilk­er­ley joined Girl Guides from Meath, Ca­van and Mon­aghan to work in teams to con­duct re­search projects re­lat­ing to real-world chal­lenges.

The camp was the re­sult of a part­ner­ship be­tween Ir­ish Girl Guides, Prof Deirdre But­ler of Dublin City Univer­sity and LearnIT Lego that was de­vel­oped in 2017. Two sim­i­lar camps took place last year in Dublin and Cork.

Dur­ing the week, teams re­searched and an­a­lysed prob­lems, tak­ing into ac­count what ‘real’ sci­en­tists and ex­perts had found out and then the girls de­vel­oped their own in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions.

The Guides also learned about women in STEM ca­reers and heard first-hand sto­ries of how oth­ers have over­come chal­lenges.

Helen Con­can­non, Chief Com­mis­sioner of Ir­ish Girl Guides, said she was grate­ful to Eir­Grid and LearnIT Lego for en­abling the next gen­er­a­tion of girls and young women to ex­pe­ri­ence STEM through a prac­ti­cal hands-on camp. “The theme of the camp was re­new­able en­ergy and the girls were build­ing wind tur­bines and com­plet­ing projects to ad­dress the en­ergy cri­sis,” she said. “All this is use­ful for ev­ery­day life as well as giv­ing the girls a taste of ca­reers in engi­neer­ing, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. As an or­gan­i­sa­tion, we al­ways en­cour­age our mem­bers to chal­lenge stereo­types and dream big!”

Helen Gal­lagher, who works in Eir­Grid Group’s In­no­va­tion di­vi­sion, vis­ited the camp. She said the need to ad­dress the gen­der im­bal­ance in STEM dis­ci­plines and ca­reers was well doc­u­mented. A range of re­search re­ports and sur­veys had re­peat­edly shown that while young boys and girls were in­ter­ested in STEM sub­jects, girls started los­ing in­ter­est be­tween 13 to 15 years old. The gen­der gap be­came pro­gres­sively more pro­nounced through later post-pri­mary school­ing and third level.

Mill­mount, Monaster­boice and Cu Chu­lainn Guides.

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