Girls?

Hello everyone,

I'm a teacher here in Vancouver BC, I'm looking for ideas for Arduino projects that might interest teenage girls, ideas anyone?

A bit of background, I have an extensive background in computer programming. I've done some PIC microprocessor programming and even etching many years ago. I recently had my 10 yo son in a tech science camp where they built battling / fighting robots with Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits. He loved it so much I had to eventually get his own set. But I noticed there was only one girl in this day camp. Not surprisingly she didn't finish the program.

I feel there are so many things to learn relating to computers, programming, trouble shooting and critical thinking / problem solving ... but would like my program to appeal to teenage girls as well.

Any ideas?

Hi,

Very intersting issue (maybe you have awaked the Averno devils) :grin:

I've got four daugthers (39, 34, 14, 11); I have a 9 yr old grandson too. The older two are engineers and are working in England currently (food and photovoltaic industries. By the way, I was grandad for a second time last march and the UK do not give my granddaugther the UK nationality; those British . . . . :angry: ).

Once made the introduction: I bougth a Lego wedo to my grand this summer and we were practising a bit last week. I (intentionally) choosed a moment that my two 11 and 14 girls were over there. The result was that the 11 one finally got slepping (literally) while the other was interested. Fnally they (grand and 14 yr old) mounted the angry (hungry?) alligator that Lego proposes. They learnt a lot about distance sensor and a bit about DC motors and gears.

My smaller daugthers say that minecraft is for boys and animals role games (you know: horses, pigs, hens, . . .) for girls . . . . maybe this is true (another Averno devils?).

Frankly, I don't see a barbie robot to interest girls in programming/robotics; I would say that a conventional approach is the best one. I mean, well prepared sessions, motivating examples, patience and a bit of luck.

Best regards.

Vicente

P.D. I used Scratch for Lego programing: it is a good, good, good tool for begineers (I said begineers, not just children); perhaps one of the greatest contributions to computer science I have worked with last year)

My adult daughter works in the caring profession so we have almost zero in common professionally :slight_smile: I don't recall her being interested in technical stuff when she was young - in fact the difference from her older brothers amazed us when she was very small.

My sister-in-law ran science courses for junior school kids and for birthday parties. One group she worked with had a presentation at a science fair and I was amazed at how much the youngsters (mostly girls IIRC) had absorbed about the science of the strength of eggshells. They had made very basic "cars" (out of egg boxes IIRC) to demonstrate seat belts and they had a drop test. And they were easily able to explain it all to me.

I get the sense that the use of an Arduino for a purpose, rather than as an end in itself, may be more interesting for girls. Projects connected with the environment or human behaviour might be interesting.

I like the idea that science/computing projects provide a platform for increasing kids' ability to be articulate about complex issues.

...R

I get the sense that the use of an Arduino for a purpose, rather than as an end in itself, may be more interesting for girls. Projects connected with the environment or human behaviour might be interesting.

I do agree on this

Vicente

Hi,

http://www.fluxstudios.org/jewellerynews/?p=369

http://lilypadarduino.org/

Tom… :slight_smile:
(I’m a step father that built an RED LED flashing hand held sign for step daughter to take to Taylor Swift RED Concert when it toured Australia.)
PS. Trying hard not to sound sexist, but we are dealing with young adolescent girls, if you want to start early, you need to get their attention.

danielchow:
But I noticed there was only one girl in this day camp. Not surprisingly she didn't finish the program.

Because of the boys.

Robots sound as interesting as anything else. Start with programming ready-built ones to perform more useful tasks, and have the group all girls - or segregate two groups (who might possibly form a competition).

Congratulations on the grandkid, you are what I call ... homefree!

Thank you for the response, it has to be something more than a "barbie" robot. These will be grade 10-12 girls. I'm thinking of something like a M&M or Smartie sorter, Monopoly money sorter, or counter where you type in the dollar value and it gives you the change. But those would be pretty heavy projects. My idea is to dedicate the entire school year to building one of these projects per group starting from scratch, that is starting from:

"Here's an Arduino, lets start by installing the software and driver"

"What is a driver?"

"Well, let me explain :)"

My son is 10 and he loves it. The kit recommends age 10-16 for Lego Mindstorms EV3. I do realize you can do Lego Wedo with Scratch. BTW I use Scratch to teach programming for my grade 9's. We make video games.

vffgaston:
Hi,

Very intersting issue (maybe you have awaked the Averno devils) :grin:

I've got four daugthers (39, 34, 14, 11); I have a 9 yr old grandson too. The older two are engineers and are working in England currently (food and photovoltaic industries. By the way, I was grandad for a second time last march and the UK do not give my granddaugther the UK nationality; those British . . . . :angry: ).

Once made the introduction: I bougth a Lego wedo to my grand this summer and we were practising a bit last week. I (intentionally) choosed a moment that my two 11 and 14 girls were over there. The result was that the 11 one finally got slepping (literally) while the other was interested. Fnally they (grand and 14 yr old) mounted the angry (hungry?) alligator that Lego proposes. They learnt a lot about distance sensor and a bit about DC motors and gears.

My smaller daugthers say that minecraft is for boys and animals role games (you know: horses, pigs, hens, . . .) for girls . . . . maybe this is true (another Averno devils?).

Frankly, I don't see a barbie robot to interest girls in programming/robotics; I would say that a conventional approach is the best one. I mean, well prepared sessions, motivating examples, patience and a bit of luck.

Best regards.

Vicente

P.D. I used Scratch for Lego programing: it is a good, good, good tool for begineers (I said begineers, not just children); perhaps one of the greatest contributions to computer science I have worked with last year)

danielchow:
"Here's an Arduino, lets start by installing the software and driver"

"What is a driver?"

"Well, let me explain :)"

void loop()
Siren Noise
"Nerd Alert Nerd Alert"
Siren Noise
}

It does not strike me as the best way to catch girls' attention.

...R

So your program in part of the school curriculum? Like an elective, and not something like a summer program?

After getting a handful ideas you might want to put it to a preliminary vote with the students to see where interest lies. Even see if they have any proposed ideas and you can evaluate and talk with them over the feasibility.

See where their interest lies and cater to it.

As for ideas, lets say that some are in a school band for example. There are loads of arduino projects on the internet that walk through how to interact with instruments. Say, visualizing otherwise invisible waves and signals.

It seems that in the world of "making", women (and girls) tend to gravitate toward "fashionable" arts - which, in the Arduino world - basically translates into wearables and the Lilypad:

http://lilypadarduino.org/

That isn't to say that women and girls are -only- interested in such projects - but those kinds of projects may provide a good introduction on what can be done with the Arduino and electronics.

A recent posting on /r/Cyberpunk shows that "girls can be hackers, too" (why that should have ever been a question, I don't know):

She's still not cyberpunk because...

The user's name is "SexyCyborg" - she has the skills, talent, and...ahem...assets; honestly, she knows what she is doing (check out some of her past works - she has posted other imgur galleries) - and her projects go well beyond simple blinking light shows (though there is plenty of that, too). Be aware that sometimes comments by others - toward her and her projects - sometimes are offensive; for some reason, among more than a few geeks - there is an offensive misogynistic attitude that either only focuses on the obvious, or tries to loudly pigeonhole those women who "dare to tread on what should be a man's work" (and honestly generally showing those "men" that they need better game) - and that sometimes get's displayed toward SexyCyborg.

That said - more often than not she is supported and applauded by members of r/Cyberpunk - we all want to see what she comes up with next, as her perspective - both as a Chinese citizen, and as a woman - lead to interesting projects most of the rest of us wouldn't typically think of (let alone be able to pull off - most members of r/Cyberpunk are more into the aesthetic, literary or dramatic expressions, rather than the practical or technical aspects of the genre).

She is not alone in this - but as you know, women and girls are far under-represented in the STEM fields.

Also - be sure to google "women coders" and "women makers" - there are several resources and such out there that might be able to help you in your efforts, too.

Good luck!

:smiley:

Have you asked the girls? Is there any need to gender projects? You could get picketed in Toronto!

All students take science, why not show them how to make some basic measuring devices like IR interrupt/reflect (timing for example a pendulum), temperature, whatever?

Did you know that colored leds can be used to measure color components of light? They're used in one device that shines light through liquid to see what is absorbed. They can be used to analyze reflected light from different color surfaces. See how many boys and girls would care about that.

In the playground there are different DIY capacitance sensors going from touch to a meter or more distant. You need a few parts, resistors, caps, wires, and a few sizes of conductive surfaces.

Why not teach them a basic or two and have them come up with their own ideas? Really.

I'd get in trouble. How about a bra with built-in cap sense and red leds + buzzer when a hand got too close? Which of course would get tested even when the bra was not in use. Trouble and then some.

More real, how about sensors for blind people so they know someone approaches and to help navigate obstacles?

Robin2:
My adult daughter works in the caring profession so we have almost zero in common professionally :slight_smile: I don’t recall her being interested in technical stuff when she was young - in fact the difference from her older brothers amazed us when she was very small.

My sister-in-law ran science courses for junior school kids and for birthday parties. One group she worked with had a presentation at a science fair and I was amazed at how much the youngsters (mostly girls IIRC) had absorbed about the science of the strength of eggshells. They had made very basic “cars” (out of egg boxes IIRC) to demonstrate seat belts and they had a drop test. And they were easily able to explain it all to me.

I get the sense that the use of an Arduino for a purpose, rather than as an end in itself, may be more interesting for girls. Projects connected with the environment or human behaviour might be interesting.

I like the idea that science/computing projects provide a platform for increasing kids’ ability to be articulate about complex issues.

…R

I’m thinking the same thing but what??

Something cross-curricular, related to other subjects they are taking like science, art, home-ec? Something relating to their every day life? Something cool, interesting, fun? Something related to the environment, social justice?? Just need ideas…

vffgaston:
I do agree on this

Vicente

+1 on that, something other than battling robots or something fictitiously "girly". It has to be something real, genuine, maybe even useful. But what??

TomGeorge:
Hi,

Lilypad Arduino Jewelry - YouTube

smart clothing using the arduino lilypad | Flux Jewellery News, Exhibitions and Special Events

http://lilypadarduino.org/

Tom...... :slight_smile:
(I'm a step father that built an RED LED flashing hand held sign for step daughter to take to Taylor Swift RED Concert when it toured Australia.)
PS. Trying hard not to sound sexist, but we are dealing with young adolescent girls, if you want to start early, you need to get their attention.

Brilliant, I added this to my list which is still very short right now. :slight_smile:

ty!

ApexM0Eng:
So your program in part of the school curriculum? Like an elective, and not something like a summer program?

After getting a handful ideas you might want to put it to a preliminary vote with the students to see where interest lies. Even see if they have any proposed ideas and you can evaluate and talk with them over the feasibility.

See where their interest lies and cater to it.

As for ideas, lets say that some are in a school band for example. There are loads of arduino projects on the internet that walk through how to interact with instruments. Say, visualizing otherwise invisible waves and signals.

This will be a girls-only technology class, BC curriculum, elective course covering "Information Communication Technology" as the province likes to call it and programming.

I'm definately planning to do that, but they're going to be new to this technology so they will not be aware of what they can do with it. And like you mentioned, some may overshoot what it realistic. I would like to have a list of ideas to present to them just to get them thinking.

Perhaps they can branch off an idea, or combine several to make their own.

I'm planning to have the girls work in groups of 2 to 4.

If my experience count, girls of that age are interested in boys, Facebook, boys, Twitter, boys, and sport.

Possibly a program to display a scoreboard and controlled from their phone via Bluetooth. This gives experience in electronics and programming using multiplexing.

A program relating to the other interests is too difficult!

Weedpharma

There must be some local issues that are of interest.

  • urban pollution,
  • car (automobile) speeds at school crossings,
  • best times to visit the supermarket (least busy times),
  • environmental noise,
  • decline in wildlife population,
  • increase in pest population,
  • calorie intake
  • etc

Some things may be capable of real measurement and reporting and others might just lend themselves to building a simulation.

This sort of stuff has the advantage that it gets kids thinking about the stuff that's in the news, gets them to see the difference between evidence and prejudice and maybe gets them to take a more analytical view of what they see on Facebook and Twitter.

...R

I just saw this article and it seems to be somewhat relevant.

This forthcoming BBC television series looks interesting, but will probably not be available online outside UK:
Girls Can Code.

We have one girl in Manchester ( England ) waving the flag for girls with the Raspberry Pi platform.
Just google for :-
Amy Mather

Sad to say that in 21 years of lecturing in Physics at a University I only ever had two female students. We had one female Lecturer for the last 6 years I was there and she was excellent. There is nothing inherently stopping a girl doing what ever branch of science, but there are strong social pressures. I think trying to find a gender specific project is a wrong way of thinking about things, although the wrong project can put anyone off. Every one is different and are excited by different things, the trick is to engage enthusiasm and everything will follow.

Maybe you can get ideas from here:-