The National Organizer in Switzerland is reaching more and more girls through their 'Mehr Girls in Robotik!' project. Team coaches receive robotics kits and learning materials from LEGO when they register an all-girls team. Materials which are sponsored by the ETH Zurich and Science Olympiad Switzerland's Gender Fonds. WRO Switzerland, led by Monika Koch, also used prize money from their Girls in STEM Award to run a series of workshops for both existing and new teams. So far the projects are exceeding expectations. Monika Koch says:
"Four more girls have joined from the canton of Ticino, Italian Switzerland, so now 26 girls are participating! Actually more than we had robots for, but we could not reject anyone."
Science Olympiad Switzerland's Gender Fonds came to the rescue and supplied extra robots needed. The series of three workshops is to ease the girls into WRO and robotics. The first was in March where 22 Elementary and Junior category girls built and programmed robots. On May 1 they held the second and more advanced workshop, which was as great a success as the first one.
"One girl had not found a team, so at the second workshop a team from another location took her in. All 26 girls have registered for the third workshop," Monika Koch says.
Visiting a robotics lab
On the last workshop in August the girls will visit the Robotics Labs at ETH Zurich and the company Midor AG. Here they will meet a female engineer, who will tell them how she scaled down a huge production line for a new building. Our Premium Partner Juniper Networks, who is behind the Girls in STEM Award, will give the girls t-shirts, to give them a feeling of all being part of the same team that day.
Robot Olympiad Schweiz is still affected by Covid-19, which means on site regional competitions have been cancelled.
"But online competitions will take place, and all the new girl teams will be there! I am excited to see the numbers this year and think we will have more girls than last year," says Monika Koch.
A live event is still planned for the WRO finals in Switzerland.
Two posts from WRO Switzerland's Girls blog:
"In the beginning we worked on paper. We had to get a drawn rocket safely to the moon. Then we had to program a turtle so that it drew a picture. After that, we built a robot cat out of Lego Boost. It has green eyes and a moving tail. We drove the Blue bot over drawn fields, forests & meadows. Afterwards, we presented the Blue bot to the class. Our teacher entered us in the WRO and we won a LEGO Spike Prime. Our robot is called Funny & can drive on a black line."
Elena, team Power Girls
"We tried the gyro sensor this morning. It is mega handy and you can work better and more accurately with it. Our teacher explained how it works. Now our robot drives very accurately and it is much easier to program. We have already come a long way and we are looking forward to do the other tasks."
About the Girls in STEM Award
The Girls in STEM award goes to two National Organizers: The first, with an existing project already succeeding at on-boarding more girls, which last year was Robot Olympiad Schweiz. The second goes to a future project with potential to on-board more girls, which in 2020 was STEM Education Organization for Cambodia.