The Science Runway for Girls

A good play on words here. The Science Runway, like the fashion runway, deals in models. Only The Science Runway is about role models that will inspire girls to join fields in healthcare and life sciences.


Founder Akhila Satish says “We believe that every little girl can grow up to be their own version of a brilliant, beautiful woman in science like each of our role models are! There is no single path of science for women.”

This runway is a project of The Center for Healthcare Innovation (a nonprofit research center) and its group, Women in Healthcare and the Life Sciences.


Engineering your own doll’s house

Writing for IEEE (“I triple E”), Tekla Perry mentions a couple of toys aimed at introducing kids to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Worth listening to since few organizations are more serious about energy and electronics than the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Roominate wants girls to be artists, architects and engineers…

First, Roominate is a kit that lets kids design and build a wired doll’s house. The wiring enables lights, fans, and sounds (doorbell). Kids can build furniture too, and there are even dolls to live in the house. I hope they add some solar panels and maybe even let the “fan” double as a simulated “wind turbine.” Oh, and what about rain barrels, roof gardens, and other sustainable touches?

Inspecting the current flow using the Light Up app.

Second is Light Up, a kit of magnetically connectable circuit board components, not unlike Littlebits (which we wrote about before in a post on 8 tech learning toys and games). One difference is that Light Up also has an app that uses the camera to analyze your construction and show current flow or help you troubleshoot. The lightup blog offers projects ideas and instructions to follow.

Have any good toys to add to the list? Have you tried either of these toys? Tell us in the comments. If you find these posts useful sign up for our newsletter.



Kids and 3D printing roundup

A few items across the desk lately:

Printeer, a 3D printer for kids

Currently a kickstarter campaign is underway for the Printeer, a 3D printer with name, looks, and ipad app to appeal to kids. The company sees schools as their primary market and have already worked with California elementary schools.



Google launches Made with Code to make STEM more attractive to girls

Made with Code is aimed at 13+ girls and gives them an easy way to code/create a 3D bracelet that Made with Code then prints and sends them (for free). Girls (or boys, one would think) use Blockly programming language to set the width, diameter, color, and message of the bracelet.


15 year old to start business recycling 3D print filament

Also tied to a potential kickstarter campaign, teenager Grayson Galisky wants to start a business recycling the plastic resin used in 3D printers (via 3Dprint). Research shows that waste plastic is a good source material for 3D print filament (the “ink” of the 3D printer) because it takes less energy than fully recycling the plastic into new products.

Common sense suggests that the “kid wonder” stories we’ve read about youngsters developing apps or online businesses is set to be repeated with kids’ businesses around 3D printing.

First Scottish library gets 3D printer to engage children

Dundee library central library is using their 3D printer to engage children and special needs audiences. The library is currently printing out characters from Carla Diana’s book Leo the Maker Prince, which are used in storytelling sessions.

Dundee library
From left: Susan Gerrard, co-facilitator James Keegans, Donna Sorie, Margaret McKay, group facilitator Nicky Welch and Grahame Lapham with the book and characters created using the 3D printer at Central Library. Photo DC Thomson from The Courier

This library story supports the case we made in previous blog post “5 ways to get little hands on STEM kit without buying it.”

What are your experiences of kids and 3D printing? Let us know in the comments. We have a 3D printing title in the works!

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5 ways to get little hands on STEM kit without buying it

In previous posts on tech learning games and projects, and on robots, we mentioned a lot of cool kit–toys and technology. If you’re interested in trying this kit but can’t buy it yourself, consider some of these options:

Danielle Delgado wants to be a robotics engineer but for now uses her 3-D printer to make gifts for friends. Michael Chow/The Republic (AZ Central)

PUBLIC LIBRARIES: they’re struggling to stay digitally relevant and a few Toronto libraries are setting up digital innovation centers with community 3D printers alongside their community computers.

This story about twelve-year-old Danielle Delgado’s (pictured above) presentation of her 3D printer to kids at Guadalupe Branch Library of the Maricopa County Library District says that this Arizona library will be hosting a weekly 3-D printing club this summer.

Take these articles with you when you ask your local library to get involved too. And why not suggest Goldiblox, littleBits and Bigshot as well (see 8 tech learning games and projects)?

SCHOOLS: like libraries, schools are building up their digital and STEM toolkits. Make your school aware of the types of options available, or better yet, pick one and urge your school to get it on a trial basis.

Here’s some evidence that schools are successfully using 3D printers–and if they can get on with 3D printers, surely they can get on with any of the projects we mentioned earlier.

– 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot is lobbying for a 3D printer in every school and have set up donation mechanisms for groups to support the effort

– 5 tips from a teacher who is using 3D printers with students. The teacher’s blog is here. It has these pictures of the teacher and her classroom makerspace:

classroom makerspace C Mytko

– In California teachers are learning to build 3D printers for the classroom.

SCOUTS (girls and boys): these groups are also on the STEM bandwagon (see girlscout blurb in our other post) and local troops and state branches might be open to getting this kit for their scouts.

THE SHARING ECONOMY: instead of getting these for yourself, go in with a few other families and create a mini “toy library” that you share. Some communities already have toy or tool lending libraries, where this type of kit might fit.

Here’s a story about a Toronto tool library that also loans kitchen equipment and runs 3D printing workshops.

In fact, we are currently in the middle of “Sharing Spring”, a global movement to collaborate, participate, rethink, swap, celebrate and create. A number of cities are organizing sharefests — and what better topic for a sharefest than fun tech kit that also happens to be educational?

LOCAL MAKER/HACKING GROUPS: many major cities now have groups dedicated to helping people, often including kids, make and hack electronics and computer code. For example in london there’s Technology Will Save Us and Seattle has Makerhaus, Metrix: Create Space (and others, if you can believe it).

Good Luck, and let us have your experiences and ideas in the comments.