Our first day working at Girls’ Inc Eureka! Camp began with a early arrival to OCC College and a staff performance of “Eureka! Girls” to the tune of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”. Afterwards, we engaged in conversations with the girls through icebreakers. Games such as a name game and sharks and minos made for a great time to act silly with the girls and have new and retuning campers become acquainted with us. They became especially excited when we organized them into their challenge groups and allowed them to tie-dye their bandanas. Then, a guest speaker talked to the girls about what it meant to be a strong, smart, and bold individual.
This week, we taught paper mechanics to 7th and 8th grade girls. I was nervous on the first day, because it would be the first time my partner, Belanie, and I would be facilitating a lesson plan for fun zone carnival games. The first session was after lunch, so the girls seemed a little hesitant to respond to our questions. We continued to encourage discussion by including comments that would allow them to understand the significance that engineering plays in creating the games. They became really invested in the lesson once they worked a Goldie Blox Dunk Tank. They also became interested in videos about the Rube Goldberg machine and creating fun zone games out of cardboard. Belanie and I introduced simple machines such as a catapult and pulley that the girls could incorporate in their games.
Throughout the week, Belanie and I also highlighted Debbie Sterling, creator of Goldie Blox, as our female figure in STEM. After showing her TedTalk, we had a discussion with the girls about the inequality that some female engineers, such as Sterling, face in the field. They also recognized the lack of building toys marketed for girls and how it prevents them for developing spatial skills. The girls impressed me with their insightful comments and the amazing games they created throughout the week. The games included some of the simple machines they learned about as a base. Some of the games they made utilized catapults for target shooting, pulleys to maneuver objects, and a seesaw to launch things.
In the afternoons, I had a support role in a Girls’ Inc class. This week, I was working with the 10th grade girls on college bound lessons. On the first day, the ladies learned about the consequences of procrastination and how to avoid. When asked about how one should award themselves for not procrastination, one of the girls responded with “the best future possible”. Throughout the week, the girls also began to learn about college entrance exams and the importance of prioritization. On the last day, they crafted vision boards that showed what they wanted to be and do in their futures. My favorite lesson that week was the last one, because they also viewed the Debbie Sterling TedTalk. We discussed how she prevailed through obstacles in her life in order to achieve her goal of becoming an engineer and selling her invention.
Overall, I had a really fun time working my first week at Eureka! Camp. We, as staffers, communicate daily about all the positive aspects and some of the issues that occur during camp. We also continually think of ways to make the experience better for each set of girls we teach. I believe the girls look up to us as their staffers and have began to treat us as not only their teachers, but also as their friends whom they can have casual conversations with. We talk about their hobbies, favorite foods, and other things to help build stronger bonds with them. I look forward to continuing to teach and befriend these ladies as I continue to work at Eureka! daily.