August 2, 2018

Supporting STEM Education for Girls and Minorities

After announcing the annual theme at the 2018 All-hands Meeting, TCGers kicked off our first activities to support STEM education for girls and minorities.

The first activity TCGers participated in at the All-hands Meeting was creating Makey Makey inventions with household items. We used Makey Makeys, our laptops, Play-Doh, fruit, and other materials to build games that can be played in novel ways. Check out this video of our inventions below.

When everyone was done developing, QAing, alpha testing, beta testing, and integration testing (and tbh, playing with) their Makey Makey inventions, the instructions for how to make the inventions were codified and will be turned into a book of activities that students can use in the classroom or at home to practice inventing using the Makey Makey. The books will be donated to the DC STEM Network, and they will distribute the books and Makey Makey’s to area schools.

In addition to the Makey Makey inventions, each TCGer was given a gold(ish) coin, representing $5, to donate to one of four local organizations that support STEM education. TCG magically changed these coins to legal tender and made a commensurate contribution to each organization.

  • The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington fosters a family atmosphere with staff that actively cultivate relationships with members to ensure they feel connected and have a strong sense of stability and belonging. Youth develop critical thinking, physical, social, technological, artistic, and life skills by participating in interactive activities intentionally designed to support their development and overall well-being in S.T.E.M and S.T.E.A.M education (adding the arts to their STEM program) using a rich combination of hands-on labs, engineering challenges and creative programming. TCG donated $170 to this organization.
  • Reset: Reset is a volunteer organization of science and math professionals whose mission is to motivate children to discover and explore the worlds of science and math and to encourage them to consider educational and career choices in related fields. Currently, Reset’s new initiative is geared to increase student interest in coding by introducing students in the DMV to computational thinking — the fundamental principles on which computers and networks operate. TCG donated $165 to Reset.
  • STEM for Her: STEM for Her provides critical funding for programs that foster STEM interests through trips, speakers, programs and curriculum development, and contributes resources for clubs and after school groups in the DC Metro Area. These programs enable girls to explore STEM topics they might not otherwise have an opportunity to discover. TCG donated $145.
  • Little Phoenixes Foundation: The at-risk youth of low-income communities are more often overlooked and fall between the cracks of STEAM initiatives. These children are delayed in developing an understanding of the importance of STEAM for their lives and consequently struggle to find a place for themselves in the constantly evolving world of technology. Little Phoenixes makes it their mission to address this need. Using a mobile classroom, Little Phoenixes has the ability to go to communities in critical need, removing the transportation barriers while expressing the importance that no child should be left behind. TCG donated $260.

These efforts are just the start of what we have planned for the year. Some upcoming events include TCG Vice President for Employee Happiness Judith Turner judging school science competitions and volunteers from TCG helping a robotics team to build a website worthy of their creations.