Girl Scouts Persevere and Triumph at LEGO Robotics Competitions!

Lego Queens jump for joy!

Powered by Exelon, and supported by BNY Mellon and Motorola Solutions Foundation

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana sponsors LEGO Robotics teams to compete in competitions. We have offered a LEGO Robotics program since 2008, and we now support 27 teams each year, impacting 100+ girls annually.  

In the 2018 season, GCNWI had 25 teams, including five rookie teams! Five of our veteran teams advanced to state championship tournaments.

Veteran Teams Advance to State! 

The Indiana GCNWI team, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Robot, competed in one of the many robotics competitions that took place in November and qualified for the state championship. At state, they were awarded the first-place award for Robot Strategy & Innovation as well as received a trophy for excellence in Robot programming.

Now that the season has ended, our girls are working on their Silver Award and have decided to sponsor a toothbrush drive for less fortunate members of our community. Their experience at the state competition, also led them to create a long-term strategy to pass the team on to younger girls.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Robot holding their trophy at the state competition.

The Super Bots competed at the state qualifiers for the fourth year in a row and swept away the competition, earning 212 points on their first table run. They earned the Tournament Champion award and qualified them to also compete at state level in January. They received the award for “Excellence in Robot Design.” These girls were one of the teams invited to tournaments in Turkey and Australia, which is a wonderful recognition!

Congratulations to the Super Bots!

Team Radioactive is small but mighty! They managed to capture the Championship trophy and advance to the state finals at the Vernon Hills qualifier in December.  At the state championship in January, these ladies took home the “Gracious Professionalism” award, which was well deserved.    

The Cybourg T.U.R.T.L.E.S. are fascinated by space exploration. Their initiative impressed the judges when they presented a 50+ question personality survey about Mars readiness, and this earned them the Project Award. They also advanced to state, where they made their best table runs of the season.  

These Cybourg T.U.R.T.L.E.S are ready for space exploration!

Rookie Teams Also Earned Recognition

Funding from BNY Mellon helped make it possible to add five new teams to our robotics programs!  

Holmes Hawks loved their first year as robotics team members!

Rookie team Holmes Hawks competed at their first qualifier in December. The team worked collaboratively to complete the competition’s course, and while they did not place, it never diminished their enthusiasm. The demonstrated exceptional problem-solving skills, collaborating and hypothesizing on how to run their mission. Their persistence and optimism earned them the “Rookie Award” for the competition, and they are excited to compete again next year. They plan to complete five missions!  

Another rookie team, the Slimemaniacsqualified for state on their first attempt! They also earned the award for Core Values. At the state championship tournament the girls won the “Rookie Award”!    

All our LEGO Robotics Teams together.

Learn More about Robotics! 

Girl Scouts offers programs and badges designed to learn more about robotics! You can attend a Design Your Own Robot Badge workshop to learn about what robots do and how they help people, then design your own! 

Get involved in LEGO Robotics

The Girl Scouts GCNWI LEGO program is in partnership with FIRST Robotics. You can be a part of the excitement! Applications open annually in May to participate in the following season.

We are looking for teams of Girl Scouts, who have between 2 – 10 participants, two team leaders, and are willing to dedicate 1 – 2 hours per week on LEGO Robotics from September through December. Girl Scouts participating do not necessarily need to be from the same troop.

As a part of a FIRST LEGO Robotics team within Girl Scouts GCNWI, teams will:

  • Design, build, test, and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS ® technology;
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts;
  • Research challenges facing today’s scientists;
  • Learn critical thinking, team-building, and presentation skills;
  • Participate in team meetings, tournaments, and celebrations.

Sign-up to be notified with the 2019-2020 applications are open!

Girl Scouts GCNWI Career Day Recap: STEM Takes the Lead!

On President’s Day 2019, Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana explored careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) with presenting sponsors DeloitteMolex, and Intren, and at other programs hosted by Groupon and NiSource.

Read on for highlights from each Career Day event which helped inspire and lead girls on greater paths within STEAM.

Girl Scouts Learn Business Chemistry at Deloitte

Deloitte hosted Girl Scouts for an Introduction to Business Chemistry and Women in the Workplace! Girls that participated in the day discussed resiliency, networking and self-promotion and learned about how their own personality types interact best with others through Deloitte’s Business Chemistry program.

Girl Scouts Networked with Women in Electronics STEM Fields

The Connect with STEAM was a Career Day style event coordinated by both our local Girl Scouts organization and the Molex WBC.  Molex welcomed a record 40+ girls, 10 parents/troop leaders, and 20 Molex volunteers! The Girl Scouts were split into three groups and rotated through three activities:

  1. An engineering focused build a circuit activity;
  2. A team building/manufacturing focused activity where the girls built and tested paper airplanes;
  3. A coding focused activity where the girls learned the basic concepts of writing and reading code.

They finished the day with a question and answer panel featuring five ladies from Molex with STEM related careers in Accounting, Engineering, IT, Pricing, etc.

One Girl Scout facilitator noted, “The girls were fired up by the keynote speaker, and enjoyed the squishy circuits, the airplane assembly lines, the robot activity, and the inspiring career panel at the end. It was a great opportunity for girls to engage with hands-on activities and many inspiring women.”

Girl Scouts Explore Energy at Intren

Intren’s Girl Scouts Career Day, “Explore Energy with Intren,” inspired Girl Scouts interested in joining the fast-growing energy industry which is currently male-dominated.

Girls built an electrical circuit, got up close and personal with the hefty machinery used to build utilities groundwork, and met and networked with women in the STEM field. The girls had a great time engaging with women in the industry and loved having their eyes open to new possibilities!

Girl Scouts Explore Engineering at Groupon

Groupon hosted “Scout Out Engineering at Groupon.” The girls worked with circuit boards and participated in coding activities, as well as exploring the offices with a scavenger hunt.   

One Girl Scout parent told us, “The girls loved the program and loved meeting so many volunteers and [Girl] Scouts from other troops! It was a really special program and we hope that such a program continues to flourish.

“In speaking with the girls on the way home after the event, the girls talked endlessly about being at Groupon, and building circuits (both the frustration of building, the thrill of perseverance and in successfully seeing the light illuminate).  They also commented on how great it was the circuit boards like that don’t need to be built anymore and how great new technology is (and clearly why circuit boards like the one they were building aren’t used anymore because of the fickle nature of the connections and board).”

Girl Scouts Introduced to Engineering at NiSource

NiSource hosted another one of their recurring and successful “NIPSCO Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day!” Girl Scouts has an insightful safety demonstration, participated in a Q&A panel with women, and competed in an engineering challenge! 

The Girl Scouts were able to learn about the potential for careers in engineering while having fun experiencing new and exciting things about STEM!

Learn more about STEM

Girl Scouts GCNWI hosts a multitude of STEM Career Day Exploration programs on school “off” days (such as President’s Day, Columbus Day, and MLK Day). Keep your eyes peeled for our 2019-2020 programs which will be announced this fall!

STEMapalooza Registration Open Now!

Learn more about STEM in a hands-on way, and meet women in the field at STEMapalooza, the only Science expo made just for girls! Get tickets before they’re gone!

Don’t Sleep on these President’s Day STEM Career Days!

Girl Scouts can explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) at these upcoming GCNWI Programs, with presenting sponsors Deloitte, Molex and Intren!

Chemistry for Success at Deloitte

Monday Feb. 18 | 8:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Deloitte Offices, 111 S Wacker Drive, Floor 27, Chicago, IL 60606

Open to Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (Grades 8 – 12)
Cost: $1 – Includes fun patch

Have you ever been curious as to how your personality gels with someone else’s? Join us for this Career Day with Deloitte where girls will learn about Business Chemistry and how their own personality types enable them to team with others. Discuss topics with women in business like: how to speak with confidence, increase resilience, and engage in Moments that Matter. Giveaways and fun patch included.

Registration ends Feb. 11!

Register for Chemistry for Success »

Molex Connect to STEAM Day

Monday, Feb. 18 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Molex, 2222 Wellington Ct., Lisle, IL 60532

Open to Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (Grades 6 -12)
Cost: $5 – Includes fun patch and lunch

Do you have an interest in engineering and manufacturing? Experience all aspects of these fields at Molex with Build-A-Switch and Airplane engineering activities. Attendees will also experience a Q&A panel with Molex STEM women, plus a free lunch!

Registration closes Feb. 11

Sign up for Molex STEAM Day »


Explore Energy at Intren

Monday, Feb. 18 | 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Intren Offices, 3528 Martens St., Franklin Park, IL 60131

Open to Cadettes and Juniors (Grades 4 – 8)
Cost: $5 – Includes fun patch and snacks.

Will you be one of the trailblazing women who will join the fast-growing, currently male-dominated energy industry?  Energy is something we often take for granted, but what does it actually take to keep everything humming along? And how do women fit into the mix? Come explore Intren for day to find out how women are changing the energy industry and taking the lead – you could be next!  Founded over 30 years ago by a female entrepreneur, Intren is now a certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

At Intren, you will:

  • Build an electrical circuit to see how electricity works
  • Get up close and personal with the hefty machinery used to build utilities groundwork 
  • Play a game to learn about safety in the field
  • Meet accomplished women working throughout Intren in all areas of the business, including technology, HR and finance

Registration closes Feb. 11.

Register for Intren Chemistry Day »


Girl Scouts and Randstad Partner to Empower Leaders of Tomorrow

Girl Scouts and Randstad Partner to Empower Leaders of Tomorrow

Want to learn tips and tricks to landing a summer internship or how to obtain your dream job? Join the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) for “She Succeeds: Empowering the Leaders of Tomorrow,” a special event hosted by one of the largest staffing firms in the U.S., Randstad.

The event, which takes place on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at our Vernon Hills Gathering Place, is designed to teach young women how to prepare for a career of their dreams and will feature opening remarks by Traci Fiatte, CEO, Professional and Commercial Staffing, at Randstad US and GSGCNWI board member, and a keynote address by Kelley O. Williams, CEO and co-founder of Paige & Paxton Elementary STEM Curriculum.

Williams has led nationally recognized STEM pipeline initiatives designed to introduce girls to the field of technology. She also achieved notable recognition for her contributions and success including awards such as “Crain’s Chicago Business 20 in their 20s” and the Porsche “Power 30 under 30”.

To further discuss the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), we chatted with Fiatte and Williams to learn more about their careers and how girls can start planning for success today.

How are you making STEM more accessible for girls and children of color?

Kelley O. Williams: In addition to actively recruiting families with girls and diverse children for our programming and online community, one of the ways that we attract and make STEM education more accessible and inclusive to girls is through storytelling.

Storytelling was the medium that my mom leveraged to make science and math real and relevant to my sister and me. It is still the hallmark of our methodology. Paige & Paxton content, curricula and events are all based on the characters and storylines from the Paige & Paxton book series. The puzzle piece characters are doing the same things as children, having the same experiences, asking the same questions and finding the answers in STEM, which they discover is an integral part of the world in which they live. Storytelling is a powerful way to introduce STEM concepts and careers through a gender inclusive childhood lens while cultivating early STEM interest and awareness that will follow girls throughout their educational career.

Why do you think it’s important for every child, especially girls, to learn about STEM?

Traci Fiatte: The older we get, the less opportunity there is to try new things. And by high school, many kids feel established and may be intimidated to jump into something different. Imagine high school soccer tryouts. Most of the kids vying for a spot on the team have been playing since they were young. Someone just learning how to play will likely feel overwhelmed and may not bother trying out. The same can be true for extracurricular clubs, activities and curriculum. Having early exposure creates confidence, and that confidence can translate into career paths, hobbies and higher engagement in class.

STEM subjects, in particular, are important to introduce early. The most difficult occupations to fill today are in STEM fields because there is a shortage of qualified people to fill the open jobs. As every industry becomes increasingly reliant on technology, STEM specialists will be in even higher demand in the future. Today, STEM fields are traditionally male dominated. That’s changing, but we still have a long way to go. The earlier young women recognize their affinity to STEM subjects, and the fewer obstacles they encounter, the better the environment will be for them when they enter college and beyond.

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What are some of the challenges women face in STEM careers and how can we prepare girls for success?

Kelley O. Williams: One of the biggest challenges that women face in getting interested and remaining in STEM careers is unconscious bias. It begins in early childhood when parents and teachers assume that girls are “naturally” better at reading and boys “naturally” better at math. It occurs when we compliment young girls for being pretty and young boys for being smart. It occurs in the toy aisle when toys that are “designed” for boys tend to encourage more spatial intelligence development, while toys for girls encourage developing social intelligence.

The best that we can do for our girls to prepare them for success is to check our biases. We need to encourage girls to take active roles in STEM education experiences, even when they may be hesitant to try. We need to be mindful of how and what we praise girls for and how we provide them with feedback. Most importantly, we need our girls to see diverse examples of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers so that they know that being a girl in STEM is not an exception to the rule.

To learn more, or to register for the event, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Girl Scouts Build Solar-Powered Cookie Booth

Girl Scouts Build Solar-Powered Cookie Booth

No outlets? No problem.

After struggling to keep the lights on for their blinged-out cookie booth, Girl Scouts from Troop 60194 in Chicago had the brilliant idea to create a solar-powered, 3D-printed masterpiece to help them sell Girl Scout Cookies.

In order to make their dreams come true, the troop enlisted the help of Exelon to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to “build a brighter tomorrow.”

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The troop is planning to donate 500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to wounded veterans in Baltimore and D.C. through the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Gift of Caring program.

Learn more about their journey here and watch their booth-building adventure below.

Girl Scouts and Women’s Energy Summit Partner for Girl Power-Get Energized

Girl Scouts and Women’s Energy Summit Partner for Girl Power-Get Energized

Our girls had an electrifying time with the Women’s Energy Summit at the Illinois Institute of Technology recently.

 

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Girl Scouts from our after-school GirlSpace program and local troops participated in Girl Power-Get Energized!, which featured energy- and electricity-based activities with female professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Participants also learned about fun and interesting careers with an interactive panel.

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Women with a variety of backgrounds shared personal and professional advice about what it takes to become successful in STEM; how to achieve work-life balance; the importance of grit and how to follow your passion.

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Many thanks to the Women’s Energy Summit and the Illinois Institute of Technology for planning such a wonderful event and to all of the volunteers for donating their time.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s upcoming programs and events, click here.

Girl Scouts Help Team Win ComEd Icebox Derby

Girl Scouts Help Team Win ComEd Icebox Derby

What does it mean to take the lead like a Girl Scout? Two girls from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana found out firsthand after winning the 2016 ComEd Icebox Derby as part of Team Radiant Flames.

“I was so excited and so happy that we’d won,” said Therese Jager, a 14-year-old Girl Scout Senior. “We were all jumping around and giving each other high-fives.”

One of Therese’s teammates and Sister Girl Scout, Athena Zheng, said she was speechless when she realized they’d earned first place.

“The whole event, both the build days and especially race day, was filled with thrill and excitement,” said Athena, a 14-year-old Girl Scout Senior. “I really enjoyed the part during race day when I drove because I felt proud that I had contributed toward building this amazing car. I felt a sense of exhilaration course through me as I hopped into the car, put the seat belt on and pressed the pedal to start driving!”

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Girl Scout Therese Jaeger drives her team’s icebox car

Last month, 30 girls between the ages of 14 and 18 from the Chicagoland area competed in the third annual ComEd Icebox Derby where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) advocate and ABC’s blackish star Yara Shahidi served as emcee of the event. Teams of six worked for weeks to make solar-powered race cars out of old refrigerators. In addition to Therese and Athena, Team Radiant Flames also included Morgan Jones, Taylor Clark and Tawashae Garrett, in addition to their ComEd mentors.

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ABC’s “blackish” star Yara Shahidi emceed the 2016 ComEd Icebox Derby

“The Icebox Derby is a special once-in-a-lifetime experience because it isn’t an everyday thing that girls get to construct racecars out of old, recycled refrigerators,” Athena explained. “Additionally, we gained new STEM-related skills and experiences. This included solving science problems during race day, learning what gear ratio is and creating series and parallel circuits.”

In addition to the technical skills, Athena said she also learned the power of teamwork.

“I did not know any of my teammates or mentors before Icebox Derby, but we developed a strong bond of friendship over the build days,” she said. “I believe that teamwork contributed to our win because I would have felt less confident without my teammates’ encouragement and support.”

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Members of Team Radiant Flames celebrate their victory

Meanwhile, Therese was excited to learn about circuits, use power tools and connect solar panels to the car. Both girls stressed the importance of getting girls involved in STEM at a young age.

“Because of Girl Scouts, I have had so many opportunities that I would not have otherwise had, such as participating in the Icebox Derby and First LEGO League robotics, meeting powerful women at the Executive Club luncheon and meeting with local politicians and government officials over the years through my work on various projects,” said Therese.

“I am truly grateful to ComEd for having this Icebox Derby program and I am so fortunate to have had this experience,” she continued. “I want to be an aerospace engineer someday, but I may have never known about this field or considered engineering as a career if I had not been exposed to it.”

To learn more abut the ComEd Icebox Derby, click here. For more information about our STEM programs, please visit www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org