Girls in STEM – Ursuline Academy Ilford

Girls in STEM

On Tuesday 7th February 2017 myself, Mrs Russell and thirteen Year 10 students attended the largest technology event for girls in the UK. It was organised by Stemettes and Accenture, both organisations continue to help inspire girls to consider studying STEM subjects and to pursue a career in technology. This year was even bigger than 2016, it brought together girls from across the country and the globe for young girls in India and California to inspire future STEM careers. The event was held at the prestigious Royal Institute of Great Britain, a unique venue devoted to scientific education and research.

The day started with a fun ice breaker activity, the girls were divided into STEM pop groups with other schools. They had to think of a name for their group, a STEM related title for their first top 10 single and also a dance move. Some girls got the opportunity to perform their move in front of the whole audience. Lots of fun and laughter was had and the activity made sure the day got off to a fantastic start. The girls were then set their morning task, to build a car and control it with an app using AppShed! It was an interesting morning and the girls were challenged in a number of ways, they needed to be able to work as part of a team consisting of students from different schools, they had to be quick thinking as time was limited and above all they had to show sheer determination to ensure the task was completed. Our girls definitely rose to the challenge!

The afternoon involved the girls taking part in a workshop – The Trading Game delivered by As Creatives a multi-arts provider designing and delivering exciting, engaging and effective creative learning programmes through the arts. This was an energetic workshop, girls were actively trading and using their maths skills to win bonus points. The final part of the day involved an informative panel discussion with three women working in STEM roles. One of the panellist was 16 year old Yasmin Bey who was awarded EU Digital Girl of the Year 2015/16. She was particularly impressive and gave the girls some useful advice.

Our Head girl Floriane Fidegnon was one of the volunteers and did a grand job co-hosting. This event was extremely beneficial and it is great that we have the opportunity to be involved. More importantly these events are completely free to the young girls who take part. Once again our students behaved impeccably and this was recognised by a number of Accenture volunteers. We look forward to accompanying our students to future events. See links #STEM #GirlsInSTEM @AccentureTechUK https://www.accenture.com/gb-en/event-girls-stem.

Student comments…..

“I loved every part of the trip! I learnt how to construct a car robot and code it to make it move. This was good as it helped me understand coding more which will help me on Python. During our break, we made sturdy sticks out of newspaper which then can be made into objects such as chairs. The best part was the virtual reality. It made me realise that technology is changing rapidly for the better and sooner or later there will be more eco-friendly products.”

“I really enjoyed the day, listening to other people’s experiences was really inspiring as it showed me that you can really do whatever you want in life! Even working in NASA. When we had to build the cars with other schools it was fun as we were able to interact with new people and still learn how to build something in common. My favourite game of the day was probably the trading game as it made you think very strategically and work as a team. The lunch time entertainment was also really cool to watch amazing things whilst eating. We had an opportunity to walk and look at the different exhibits, it was fascinating as you were able to see STEM through many different ways. It was a very eventful day that I thoroughly enjoyed.”

“I felt I learnt how to do coding and different problems you may face. I also had a lot of fun during the trading game where we got to talk to others girls and how we could use maths to banking and everyday life. I enjoyed learning about the different careers in STEM for women. I particularly like the Round the Bend task of building a driverless car, because everything we came across a problem we had to try and solve it.”

“I really enjoyed the trip! I learned to put all my technological skills to use, however there were problems with wiring when making our driverless car. I really enjoyed the last session game of trading, it really inspired me to look into the world of business and stock exchange market. The panel was very good and the guest speakers were very inspirational and motivating, plus we got to take home a goody bag as well!”

“The talks from the speakers were interesting and very inspirational and has given me the determination. Moreover, by mixing with other schools, new friends were made. Building cars with new friends was challenging, but in the end we were laughing and making jokes. During lunch it was an interesting atmosphere. I tried VR, learnt about Raspberry Pi and enjoyed demonstrations of colourful flames. Would I consider a career in STEM? Yes! I am very interested in tech engineering and maths and although we live in a very sexist society, I strongly believe as a women I can get there! Lastly the goody bag was very thoughtful, my favourite aspect was the cardboard VR box so now I can watch YouTube videos with cinematic view. I also love the STEM badges that I wear to school with pride.”

“The day was planned perfectly, apart from the driverless car task, I felt that a few volunteers didn’t know what to do, but it provided us with problems we had to try and solve ourselves. I enjoyed and was able to create my own code for my car, and the tours. What did I learn? I learnt that to make your mark you have to go out into the world and try things people would not stereotypically expect you. Would I consider a STEM career? I would definitely, especially in the technological field as I truly enjoy things like coding.”  

“The event was really interesting and exciting. It helped us think on our feet and solve puzzles. The trading game made maths seem fun. There were many workshops like virtual reality, dry Ice and carbon dioxide experiments. Would I consider a career in STEM? Yes, I’m passionate about fixing things and engineering would be a good career for me.”

“I enjoyed how we got time to explore and see different STEM related companies. It put into perspective how broad STEM is as a career industry. I enjoyed the trade games the most because it allowed us to mingle while using logic and maths skills. I learnt that STEM is everywhere. Most things link back to it considering technology is a big part of the modern world.”

“Would I consider going into a STEM career? Yes, there are a wide variety of STEM careers and I really enjoy STEM subjects in school. I would like to go into architecture because that would allow me to be creative and make beautiful pieces of art and buildings.

What I enjoyed and what I would like to improve….. I feel the day could be improved by including some more creative elements connected to STEM. But overall I enjoyed how we got time to explore and see different STEM related companies. It put into perspective how broad STEM is as a career industry. I also enjoyed the fire show that took place at lunch time because it was very interesting and I learnt a lot of things, science related. I feel the day could be improved by including some more creative elements connected to STEM. I really enjoyed the trip, I learnt new things.”

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