First full week of DukeEngage – check.
Bright and early on Monday morning, Girls Inc. training began. We spent two days in a classroom, getting introduced to Girls Inc. policies and procedures, getting trained in classroom management and facilitation skills, getting acquainted with other staff and volunteers, and lots of role play to get us ready for summer camp. The other three days we spent at the Girls Inc. office where we developed, revised, and practiced the curriculum that we will be facilitating at camp. From the early mornings to the 8-hour days to the fun projects and curriculum that we practiced, this week felt oddly reminiscent of middle school.
One thing that was surprising to me was finding out the amount of agency and lead that we are given in the STEM portions of summer camp. I had believed that we will be there as background help, but I was very excited to learn that we will be leading and facilitating a lot more of the STEM curriculum than I had anticipated. I already knew I would be implementing my own curriculum for biomedical engineering week, but I found I would be helping to facilitate the STEM programs every week as well.
In order to do that, we must practice the curriculum we are going to be facilitating. It is amazing the kinds of tools, toys and gadgets are there to help kids learn. For robotics week, there is a robotic caterpillar (!!) to help kids learn to code (that I am a 100% sure I’m gonna buy for my own personal amusement) and an elaborate LEGO robotics kit that assemble into intricate robots of various functionalities. It is amazing that these kids coming to camp are going to be exposed to robotics and coding at such a young age – my personal struggles in my intro to ECE class and lab has me wishing that there were such things around when I was in middle school.
For paper engineering week, I chose to help out with the paper roller-coaster challenge. It seems like it’s an activity that most people have done before in elementary or middle school, but I had never done it before. I didn’t even know it was possible. So when my group built a functioning roller coaster out of 20 pieces of paper and some tape, I felt incredibly accomplished. Although we are making this a difficult challenge for the middle school girls, I hope that the girls are able to feel this sense of pride and accomplishment when they build their own roller-coasters out of paper.
I’m getting excited for camp.