Wednesday 24 April 2019

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

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.

The Argus