If you visited Girls Inc. Summer Camp during “SMART” week, you might have happened upon a roomful of colorful, hodge-podge structures surrounded by teams of girls, all working together to make their own unique visions come to life.  And then, lots of rolling tennis balls.


Thanks to volunteers from the Eli Lilly Women’s Network Group, our summer campers were able to experiment with engineering as they designed, built, and tested their own weight-bearing bridges. Women’s Network volunteers took time to teach the girls about famous female architects, then helped the girls collaborate to design their own functional bridges. Each girl created her own design, then worked with her team to identify the strongest points of each blueprint.


Once each team had a plan, the girls used paper cups, straws, paper clips, and other household materials to make their designs reality, making sure their bridges were all two feet long and at least three inches off the ground. Finally, the girls tested out their creations, rolling toy cars and tennis balls across each structure. The bridges passed the test!


By the end of Girls Inc. Build a Bridge®, each girl learned she had something to contribute to the team effort, and that with a little vision and planning, even string and putty can become a feat of creative, girl-powered engineering.