Roughly 250 middle school girls from throughout the Keweenaw area got their hands-on some science at Michigan Tech.
The Get WISE event–which stands for women in science and engineering–is geared for young girls to help get them interested in possible careers in those fields.
Center for Pre-College Outreach Coordinator Liz Fujita says this is a good age to reach these students. “I think sometime around 7th and 8th grade, people start to think math and science are for nerds and that nerd is a bad thing. But we all like to support that nerd is a really awesome thing. We like to encourage people to think creatively and solve problems.”
The students worked on a device to protect an egg when it is dropped and built a catapult to launch marshmallows and hit their target. Then it was on to tie-dyeing, but there was learning to go along with the fun.
“We’re going to learn about covalent bonds and some pH kind of stuff and why dye bonds to fabric and tie dye,” said Fujita.
And a chance to get out of the classroom is just the beginning…just ask 7th grade L’Anse Middle School student Addison Mattson. “We would be with a bunch of other schools and have the opportunity to do some challenges, because you’re, like, hands-on doing stuff and figuring stuff out.”
Fujita says the hope is that when these girls return to school…they are more excited to learn about science, especially in groups.
“Sometimes you’re presented with a class project or a problem and you’re like, ‘Oh, man! I don’t know if I can do that. I’m a little…I’m gonna just not do it.’ Hopefully, they feel a little more tenacious like they can take it on and solve that problem together.”