Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science (GEMS) is a sponsored programme for primary girls aged from 10 to 11 years old with the aim to increase involvement of girls in robotics. This programme is started on 7th of August 2017 and officially ended on 11th of November 2017.
Students followed through 20 lessons which cover Robotic skills, Design Thinking and Pitching. They are challenged to create their own robot prototype in order to make the earth a better place to live in by the end of the programme. They started small by observing and identifying problems happening in their daily lives either in school or at home. Then, their problem statements are being questioned that are the problems they identified are the real problems others are facing as well? They learnt to support their problem statements with rationale of their project. For instance, one team came up with the problem that their garden is always dirty, full of dried leaves and dirt. Meanwhile, their rationale is if the garden is dirty, there might be unexpectedly stored rainwater that encourages mosquitoes breeding, which will lead to dengue fever. Delightfully, the girls were starting small yet thinking big.
After identifying the problems, students’ robotic skills were put to test as they will need to apply all the knowledge and skills they have acquired to build and program their own robot prototype. One of the robot prototypes called Mother’s Best Friend which sweeps the floor automatically whenever it detects an obstacle, giving mothers peace of minds is accurately and precisely programmed according to their flowchart and won themselves the Challenger Award.
Next, students were signed up for Rero Coding Challenge during Penang International Science Fair(PISF). In this competition, students were tested on computational thinking, critical thinking and problem solving. Working with people from different races where their mother tongues are different, students faced problem communicating their thoughts especially when teamwork was critical. Assumptive thoughts that came into their minds after communication failure were tearing them apart while teacher came in timely to rectify the situations. A safe and calm atmosphere was provided where students were asked to share and reflect. Though they did not manage to win a prize, we are so proud of their positive personal development and interest towards science and robotics.