Tag Archives: robotics

Ask Donna Video: Girls and Robotic Teams

Hi, it’s Donna here with a new *Ask Donna* video blog,

In this week’s video, I advise a school on how to close the leaky pipeline of girls on robotics teams:

This week’s question comes from Vicki Mazur, Math/Computer Science Teacher at Classical Academy:

“Good morning Donna, I am mentoring 3 levels of competitive robotics; elementary, middle school, and high school. The elementary team averages 1/3 girls. The middle school team averages 1/4 girls. The high school team averages 1/5 girls.

While some of this “attrition” results from additional boys joining the teams, some of it is losing girls as other opportunities for extra-curricular activities increase.

This year, the high school team was initiated by 3 girls and 2 of them chose other avenues of afterschool activities. Two other girls replaced them so the final enrollment was 3 girls and 15 boys. The team, as a first-year competitor, placed 10th out of 75 in the region. Even with that success, enrollment for next fall looks to be more boys.

How do I increase attraction to the team when faced with the numerous non-STEM opportunities available to students in middle and high school?”

Watch this latest *Ask Donna* video to hear 4 things you can do to attract girls to STEM opportunities such as these robotics teams!

Then, Talk with Donna 1-on-1 in a Women in STEM & CTE More Information Session: Sign up for a free call to talk with Donna about your college’s STEM/CTE programs and specific challenges.

The *Ask Donna* WomenTech Educators Video Blog: Have questions about how you can see more women and girls in your STEM/CTE courses? Need help overcoming a recruitment or retention challenge specific to your program and school? Now is your chance to get your question answered in a personal video from Donna Milgram—IWITTS Executive Director and developer of the WomenTech Educators Training System—in this new monthly video blog. Answering questions is Donna’s favorite part of providing professional development to help educators move the needle for women in STEM and CTE.

Want Donna to answer your question in the next *Ask Donna* video blog? Donna’s coaching is usually limited to WomenTech Educators Training school teams, so don’t miss this opportunity to *Ask Donna* your questions on broadening participation.

Ask Donna – Submit a Question Now

Stay tuned for a new *Ask Donna* video blog!

News flash – Girls and boys are different!

Recruiting Strategies 101: Which of these two educational toys do you think most girls would want to play with?

Lego Mindstorm

PicoCrickets

Both of the above toys were made by the MIT Educational Lab to teach kids computer programming, robotics and engineering skills.  LEGO MINDSTORMS® were developed first (naturally, sigh) and guess what? The lab discovered that while the toy was a big hit with boys, girls just didn’t care for it.  Now I know one of our readers out there knows a girl who loves LEGO MINDSTORMS® – however, if we are trying to appeal to the vast majority of girls, monsters just aren’t going to cut it – they’re a boy thing. MIT then realized they needed to develop a toy that interested girls and that’s where PicoCrickets comes in. Instead of monsters, girls can make a cat robot and program it to purr when someone pets it. Take a look at the video clip below that shows girls making a diary security system with PicoCrickets.


The only problem is that everyone knows about LEGO MINDSTORMS®, while very few people know about PicoCrickets. That’s why we’re around! Go to our webpage to learn more about PicoCrickets. You can see more video clips, photos and an explanation of how they work. I look forward to the day when PicoCrickets will come first and LEGO MINDSTORMS® second. Will that be in my lifetime?