Getting girls excited about STEM with Gizmos

Klein Independent School District in Texas held their second annual KISD Girls in STEM conference on their intermediate school campus this year. They hosted female speakers and panelists from STEM professions, and they set up hands-on stations in their gym for parents and girls to explore, including a math and science Gizmos station.

At the Gizmos station, there were twelve Chromebooks “where the students could play and explore with Gizmos. Half of the Chromebooks had challenge cards and the kids or parents could select a card that featured a Gizmo with a math challenge on it,” Melanie Walton, Intermediate Math Program Coordinator, explains. “The other half of the Chromebooks were set up with more science related Gizmos. Erin Haugstad, one of our science specialists, brought in a model of a Trebuchet and had students try to tear down the castle walls in the Trebuchet Gizmo. Once students had explored the Gizmo, they could build a catapult with spoons, popsicle sticks and rubber bands.”

The event definitely helped both parents and daughters get excited about STEM. “It was great seeing the parents getting involved in manipulating the Gizmos. It sparked conversations between parents and children about variables, and how they could meet the challenges presented on the cards. A lot of the time parents shy away from math, and using the Gizmos gave them an entry point in discussing math with their daughters.”

Melanie Walton adds, “My favorite moment of the day was when a little girl and her mother ran the
Reaction Time 1 (Graphs and Statistics) Gizmo. When her daughter was able to lower her average time to catch the ruler, her mother said, ‘You did it!'”