St. Louis, MO – March 8, 2018 – The Missouri State Capitol’s dome towered more than 200 feet over five Girl Scouts as they stood near their robotic booth on the third floor of the building. On March 1, The Robotic Agency, a Girl Scout of Eastern Missouri’s FIRST® Lego League team, attended STEM Day at the Capitol to showcase their STEM-related accomplishments. The team, made up of fourth graders from the Ferguson-Florissant School District, demonstrated how to prevent pollution; showed off a robot they designed and built; met with public officials; and educated event participants about the STEM opportunities available through Girl Scouts. These G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM spent the day championing their passion for STEM, inspiring others to build an even brighter future for their families, friends and community.
Girl Scout Junior, Shelby, and a The Robotic Agency team member, said she loves engineering robots at home and frequently takes apart damaged toys, recycling their mechanical pieces to use in her new creations. She was excited to participate in STEM Day at the Capitol and see other robots designed and built by students. Winstow said she’s learned a lot in Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s robotics program. She’s learned to work through the challenges of programming; there have been times their programming failed and the robot couldn’t complete its mission.
Fellow Girl Scout and robotics team member Mikayla said they recently completed the 2017-2018 season challenge posed by the FIRST organization. Together the team explored hydro dynamics, they learned the usage of water in daily life and where it comes from. The team also engineered and programmed a robot to finish missions meant to protect a variety of water sources.
“It took us a while to build our robot because we weren’t sure how we wanted to program it,” Mikayla said. “Our robot did complete the pipe removal mission and the tripod one. In the pipe mission, the robot moves a broken pipe and in the tripod one, the robot moves an inspection camera.”
Shelby’s mother, Jacquelyn Winston, said she appreciates the opportunities her daughter gets through the Girl Scout robotics program because it will help Shelby navigate a possible STEM career.
“I want Shelby to take advantage of getting a jump on life,” Winston said. “She wants to be a veterinarian so I thought being a part of a robotic team would help challenge her mind. The critical thinking component of robotics is her favorite part and it forces her to ask more questions and to not take things at face value.”
STEM is one of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s three programmatic focus areas, along with Money Management and Health. Girls in kindergarten through twelfth grade are invited to explore these fields through unique and relevant programming led by experts. Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri sponsors 55 FIRST robotic teams which is more than any other youth-serving organization in the region.
State Sen. Gina Walsh, D-13, spoke to the five Girl Scouts during their time at the Capitol about the importance of STEM and education. She believes education is of the upmost importance, as it can never be taken away from a person.
“For 40 years I worked construction and I was the first woman in my trade in the country,” Walsh said. “Never let anybody tell you, you can’t do something because you happen to be a girl. That’s why supporting [Girl Scouts and their robotic teams] are so important, nothing should hold you back.”