Lakeville South Seniors Revitalize STEM for Girls Club
January 20, 2022
Throughout the Fall 2021 semester, two Lakeville South High School (LSHS) seniors revitalized the STEM for Girls club initially developed by 2020 LSHS graduate, Nicole Chavez.
For their STEM capstone project, LSHS seniors Liza Robinson and Hailey Bergan invited 17 fifth-grade girls from Lakeview Elementary (LVE) to participate in the STEM for Girls club at LSHS. Throughout the five-session program, LVE students had the opportunity to complete two projects–a 3D printing project and a laser engraving project. Robinson and Bergan developed and taught all lesson plans to fit the students’ skill levels, teaching them how to use computer programs like Tinkercad for 3D printing and CorelDRAW for laser engraving. The girls also got hands-on experience with MakerBot 3D printers and a laser engraving tool.
Robinson’s and Bergan’s motivation behind rejuvenating the STEM for Girls club was to provide more STEM opportunities for young girls. They wanted to get girls interested and more involved in STEM at a young age so that by the time they reach high school, they will be more engaged in STEM programs.
“This became our goal because we had wished that we had more STEM opportunities to increase our interests at a young age,” said Robinson.
During their capstone project, Robinson and Bergan learned all the steps to maintaining an after-school club, how to effectively teach and mentor young students and how to develop and implement lesson plans. Robinson and Bergan said the most rewarding part of the club was seeing how excited the girls would get about the projects they were working on.
“We both enjoyed working with kids and helping them become more interested in topics that we are already passionate about. A lot of the girls reminded us of ourselves when we were younger, so we wanted to see them succeed,” Bergan said.
Bergan and Robinson received support and guidance throughout their project from LSHS STEM Teacher Dan Rawley and LVE STEM Specialist Dawn Coats. “The lessons were very engaging and they allowed for individuality in that the fifth-grade girls all got to choose their projects. Hailey and Liza were flexible and creative in designing their plans,” said Coats.
As far as feedback from the 17 fifth-grade girls who participated in the club? The girls had nothing but positive feedback. Bergan and Robinson distributed a survey on the last day of the club and found that every girl had said they learned something new and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the STEM for Girls club.
Although there are no immediate plans for additional sessions of STEM for Girls, Coats hopes the club will become a continuing opportunity for students at LVE and across the district.