Engineer It, Girl is a two-fold project where the main focus is encouraging interest in STEM learning for young girls ages 4-6 and introducing them to women who are in STEM fields and have successful careers. The project consists of hosting multiple workshops focused on different types of engineering for girls to get excited about and be hands on with age-appropriate engineering tasks and experiences. These workshops are run by ValleyPBS and trusted community partners.
The other half of the project includes ValleyPBS filming at each of the workshops to create 3-5 minute interstitials about girls creating engineering projects. These “Engineer it, girl!” interstitials feature DIY engineering projects that girls have created, and the segment is played next to our STEM shows such as Peg + Cat (demographic is 4-6 year olds) and Sid the Science Kid (demographic is ages 3-6).
Throughout the 2017 – 2018 school year, ValleyPBS did four workshops in Kern County for underserved communities. We had 75-100 girls attend each workshop along with their parents. The girls got to meet a woman engineer and ask questions. They then make their own engineering project such as a gum drop bridge, a cardboard electric robot, green houses or graham cracker arches!
ValleyPBS started these workshops with the help of the Kern Community Foundation and using teachers and curriculum from Engineering For Kids Kern County because of the disparity of women in the STEM field workforce. Studies show that when kids are exposed to more experiences at younger ages, they become familiar with them and aren’t intimidated of it. In the past, girls haven’t had the opportunity and encouragement to gain interest in engineering, so by pairing the PBS KIDS show “Peg + Cat” with the engineering workshops and marketing the workshops to girls, we hope to create that change in the world.