Using LEGO to tackle gender inequality in STEM

6 April 2020

A tote bag with the Girlguiding Cambridgeshire East County STEM day 2020 badge printed on it

On Saturday 1st February at Ely College, the first large-scale STEM day organised by Girlguiding Cambridgeshire East took place. One of the volunteers was Elizabeth, one of our current Year In Industry placement students, who found out about the event via the STEM ambassador hub.

The event, sponsored by Mundi Pharma and TTP, was a huge success with a wide variety of workshops to inspire over 750 girls throughout the day. Local volunteers and companies helped to run the sessions, covering everything from making stem cells to programming, from brain anatomy to straw rockets. Each girl had the opportunity to participate in eight 30-minute sessions, making for a very jam-packed day!

Elizabeth helped to lead the LEGO builds challenge session in collaboration with Miranda from the ICE, Hayley from the MOD and Heather, one of the Guiding leaders from Girlguiding Cambridgeshire East.

Each of our LEGO sessions had around 90-100 girls taking part with ages ranging from 5 (Rainbows) up to 18 (Rangers), so we had the opportunity to interact with and inspire a huge number of young women! The attendees had just 10 minutes to build a LEGO bridge to a strict technical brief. When judging the bridges, we looked for:

  • Whether the bridge clearance met the specification
  • Whether the bridge could withstand static and dynamic loading
  • The aesthetic interest and appeal of the bridge
  • Strong teamwork, collaboration and communication within the groups

We were highly impressed by the variety and standard of the bridges produced in such a short amount of time! The dedication, careful consideration and innovation displayed by the girls is something we can all learn from.

We will certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for future events and opportunities like this, and would highly encourage anyone to take part. Not only was it a terrific opportunity to encourage more girls to consider STEM careers, it was also great fun! Thanks again to Girlguiding Cambridgeshire East for putting together this fantastic event.

#WomenInSTEM #InspireGirls #GirlsCanDoAnything

— Elizabeth Hawke