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Women in STEM 2020

Irish Girl Guides boosts girls’ confidence with STEM

Fiona Murdoch

Irish Girl Guides’ Communications Officer

Pictured: The launch of the Mishon App on 22nd February 2020 in Dunsink Observatory. Mishon is an outdoor adventure app, which Irish Girl Guides’ members are using to track the number of kilometres people are donating to our #MishonMoon initiative.

Irish Girl Guides (IGG) is playing an important role in introducing girls and young women to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in creative and fun ways.

Youth members from age five to 30 take part in a varied programme of age-appropriate activities and challenges in a non-competitive and safe space.

Of the 120+ interest badges they can earn, a number are STEM-related, and this number is growing each year. ‘Aviation’ and ‘Engineering’ badges were added to the programme in 2019, which already included ‘STEM’, ‘Science Investigator’, ‘Techno’ and ‘Online Surfer’ badges.

These badges, developed in partnership with Aer Lingus and Engineers Ireland respectively, proved an instant hit and more than a quarter of the 10,000 youth members have already earned one or both badges.

STEM addresses 21st century challenges

Given that science and engineering subjects, along with applied maths, are not offered in some schools – especially girls’ schools – IGG is filling an important gap. We are introducing girls and young women to STEM and helping them discover how relevant it is to addressing 21st century challenges, like global warming. In this way, we hope that some will go on to pursue a career in a STEM-related area.

Partnership with Dublin City University

A partnership with Dublin City University’s STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies department has seen hundreds of IGG members around the country take part in LEGO robotics workshops. These involve learning to programme robots to tackle real life problems e.g. the prevention of flooding.

Two IGG teams made it through to the FIRST LEGO League All Ireland Final in March this year with the teams winning two awards each. The IGG ‘Sustainable Sisters’ team emerged second overall champions and have been invited to take part in an international tournament in Greece.

STEM activities on IGG social media

With overseas trips on hold at present, IGG members are keeping up their interest in STEM at home. Suggestions for STEM activities are regularly posted on IGG social media: look out, in particular, for our #STEMSaturday posts!

Mishon app

Youth members and volunteers alike have also been using the excellent new Mishon app as a way to keep track of outdoor adventures and to do fun STEM challenges, including making rockets and giant bubbles.

IGG members are inviting the public to join them in walking, running and cycling 363,104 kilometres – the distance of the earth to the moon – as a fundraiser for their new national training centre in Tallaght, which it is hoped will include a Destination STEM lounge. Simply add your #MishonMoon kilometres on the Mishon app!

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