We’re proud to announce our first robotics course designed especially for Ugandan girls! In this class, we brought in former homeless (“street”) girls from Mirembe Cottage for Street Girls (http://www.sonriseministriesinc.org/mirembecottage). We worked alongside Sarah and Michelle from http://www.justcausecanada.org.
The class was such a raging success that we’re prepping the girls for an international robotics activity next month which will bring students from Canada and the US together via video conference to work together on robotics challenges!
Here’s a video showing the first class:
Also, please check out the Just Cause blog (https://justcausecanada.wordpress.com) for regular updates!
Here’s their blog post from this activity:
Tonight we ran a first-ever robotics workshop for the girls at Mirembe Cottage for Street Girls. When we originally started discussing robotics workshops with Henry we asked about the opportunities for females to participate in these types of workshops. He admitted that most of the people he worked with in Uganda were boys and that he didn’t know of many girls who were exposed to this type of education. He came back to us the next day with the suggestion that we have an all girls workshop and suggested the girls at Mirembe. We were thrilled as we have worked with Mirembe in the past and have been impressed by their focus on the well-being of former street girls and providing them with an education. As an education-based organization we feel that it is necessary to provide educational opportunities to all, but more specifically we recognize that females are often overlooked (especially in Uganda!) so we thought that this would be the perfect fit for us. Besides, we love the girls at Mirembe- they are so sweet!
We worked throughout the day to design a workshop that would be easy enough for the girls to understand while focusing on three key concepts; exploring design/building, learning about circuits and exploring motion and sensors. The workshop began with Johnny introducing the concept of robots and what they can do. We have never seen these girls so quiet and focused before. After the introduction we had the girls follow through the workshop that we designed which was a carousel type of activity in which they worked through three different stations focusing on the various skills at each one. The first station focusing on design/building started with building Lego. This is a basic concept for most North American children, but most children in Uganda have never had the opportunity to play with Lego. Therefore, they learned how to build and manipulate the pieces while also following directions. The second station involved the girls learning about circuits by working with the Little Bits kits. They learned about power sources, inputs and outputs to do really simple things like make a homemade flashlight, a spectrum wheel and light-up shoelaces! The last station focused on working with Edison, the programmable robot. The girls were so excited to be able to make the robot follow directions and respond to their commands like clapping through the use of motion and sensors. Throughout the night it was amazing to watch these girls transform from being absolutely still, silent and hesitant when they arrived to laughing and yelling back and forth as they became more excited. The room was abuzz as they learned and shared with each other. They were so excited when we told them that they would be coming back again in a few days to continue working on these projects with the goal that they would be able to build their own robot in a few weeks time.