New SPARK Program Brings STEM Education to Young Women
UConn Engineering’s new SPARK Program gives young women in middle school and high school access to week long learning programs that focus on different engineering disciplines. This is the latest effort by the Engineering Diversity and Outreach Center to help UConn bridge the gender gap in the STEM fields and make more young women interested in science fields. Learn more about the program here.
Each week’s curriculum will focus on a different engineering discipline:
- Coding (July 9 – 15): learn the basics of coding and its real-world applications using Arduino
- Robotics (July 16 – 22): learn how to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and miniature robot
- 3D Printing (July 23 – 29): learn how to use scanning devices and to input variables into the 3D printer to print solids
Coding Week (July 9-15):
While many assume coding is computer science (and it certainly is), coding is also extremely important in many other fields including biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, electrical, material science, and mechanical engineering. This program will introduce students to coding using an Arduino kit. Female engineering mentors will instruct students in how to program the Arduino board. Students will learn how to use its sensors to run different outputs while building a variety of devices. We will also build a Bluetooth device that can be used across the internet to control lights and other devices. Each student will receive her own kit which she can take home.
Robotics Week (July 16-22):
This week is designed to introduce students to the world of robotics. Students will spend half the week building an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and the other half of the week building a miniature robot. Using VexIQ kits, students will work in teams to design, build, and problem solve to create with a robot that can compete in fun and informal competitions. This program is very hands-on and one of our main goals is to teach students how to use different tools and techniques. Each student will be able to take home the ROV she built.
3-D Printing Week (July 23-29):
This week is dedicated to introducing students to 3D printing or additive manufacturing. Students will go through all steps required to learn how to 3D print, as well as build a 3D printer. Students will learn how to use scanning devices and how to input variables into the 3D printer to print solids. Students will also work with 3D modeling software to learn how design and prototyping are used in additive manufacturing.