Putting science into practice is a great way to get more young people interested in STEM. This idea was demonstrated recently, when more than two dozen Girl Scouts from central Maryland participated in a competition to design and build a mini roller coaster. The troops met at the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University in March.
The girls, most of whom were elementary and middle school aged, used materials like cardboard boxes, pipe insulation tubing, cups, tape, and other common materials to engineer their own roller coasters, incorporating elements like hills, tunnels, banked curves, and loops into their designs. The creators of the winning design earned tickets to try real roller coasters at Six Flags amusement park.
Miriam Erickson, a Metropolitan Washinton Chapter member with a long history of encouraging participation in STEM, was a judge at the competition and said it was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.
“The competition was a very important step in improving the lives of those local Girl Scout troops,” said Erickson, who is an attorney and a former Girl Scout leader herself. “This may result in several future engineers and scientists. Who knows, they may even become ARCS scholars. This type of Girl Scout program is really just another way in which ARCS can achieve its mission of advancing science and technology in the United States.”
Erickson added that competitions like this one are fun ways to further the ARCS initiatives.
“I believe that when possible, we can put our beliefs into actions that will have consequences,” she said. “Introducing the Girl Scouts to STEM activities directly continues ARCS mission to develop and stimulate the sciences in the United States. We are encouraging the development of more scientists.”