Have you ever wanted to play the piano using bananas as your keys? The girls who attended Girls Inc. Day at IUPUI on Saturday, October 8 now know how to do just that! As one of 4 activities that the girls had a chance to participate in for GI Day, IUPUI students taught our girls how to utilize Makey Makey to turn ordinary objects such as bananas, Play Doh, and more into things that operated like a computer keyboard. As the students led the girls through the activities, Jazelyn, 12, said “This is my favorite thing ever! I am so happy!” The rest of the girls were equally excited as their imagination was sparked by all of the possibilities that Makey Makey offers.
The girls also had a chance to brainstorm and dream up potential technological solutions to problems that may exist in their neighborhoods. One group of girls, after having identified trash as an issue in their area, decided that a solution could be a robotic trash container that would circulate the neighborhood picking up trash and asking passersby if they had anything to throw away.
Another activity that girls participated in was working with Maya, a program used for digital animation. The IUPUI students showed the girls an animated squirrel and demonstrated how animators can utilize Maya to move different parts of the squirrel to make it hop and jump across the screen. Jazelyn was thrilled with this activity as well, saying “This is everything!”
The girls also had a chance to work with Little Bits, which are “a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small” (http://littlebits.cc/). They were small magnetic pieces that fit together and were attached to a battery, each with different functions like a blinking light, an alarm, a buzzer, and more.
Throughout the day, it was amazing to watch the light bulbs going off as the girls learned new activities and discovered their own potential as they explored STEM activities. The IUPUI students also enjoyed themselves, as they were able to switch roles for the day, and they taught our girls things that their professors first taught them.