One of the things we emphasize at Electric Girls is learning to troubleshoot when we encounter problems. Every Saturday, circuits stop working, projects disassemble, LEDs go dim, and other design flaws in our projects become apparent. We’ve learned that there is always a reason for every problem that occurs, which means that there is always a solution.
Last Saturday, Matilda’s circuit stopped working. We’ve learned that the most common problems that cause this are: a faulty battery a short circuit a cold solder joint non-working harvested parts
It's important to isolate and test each of these variables to find out what the problem is. Matilda decided to use the multimeter to test the voltage of her battery pack. Since the pack has four AA batteries (at 1.5V each), she knew that the voltage should be close to 6V (1.5 x 4 = 6). The multimeter reading was somewhere closer to 5 volts. At this point, she tested each of the batteries to see which ones needed to be replaced (so we don’t waste batteries!) and her project was up and running again!
This way of thinking is an essential part of the design process. Before throwing anything away-- try to fix it! (And earn a “repair” badge in the process!)
Bring Your Daughter to Hack Day
We had a fantastic time at New Orleans Women in Technology's Bring Your Daughter to Hack Day! Girls (and boys) learned about circuits and built their own, alongside their parents. We were thrilled to be part of such an amazing event, and to teach others to #hacklikeagirl !
Volunteer for Electric Girls
We're getting geared up for the start of Electric Girls on September 5th! If you're great with kids, excited about inspiring girls in science and technology, and located in the New Orleans area, we would love you to join our team. You'll be working with middle-school aged girls on Saturday mornings in Metairie. If you're interested in volunteering, apply here.
Know any girls ages 9-14 who might love Electric Girls? Refer a parent or girl to earn a FREE Electric Girls T-Shirt!Click here to register and learn more about what we'll be doing this fall.
Our 10K Indiegogo Fundraiser Starts at Midnight!
Our Indiegogo fundraising campaign launches tonight! Our $10,000 goal will make it possible for Electric Girls to continue throughout the fall and into the new year. We need your support to make it a success -- for now, please spread the word to your friends and family.
The campaign ends on August 31st, so we've got one month to reach our goal. With your support, we believe we can make it!
If you want to be ready right at launch time to check out our Indiegogo page and video, here's the link: http://igg.me/at/electricgirls (Remember, the page won't be viewable till midnight.) Thank you in advance for your support!
Today was also our last day of summer camp. We ended it all with one final badge ceremony, where our girls received badges for being mentors in soldering, circuit-bending, programming and more. We've had so much fun learning and building together - saying goodbye was hard. But we are so excited that some are returning to earn more badges and become mentors for younger girls in our fall program this August!
Why Peer Mentorship is the Key to STEM Success
We hear it all the time - girls need more role models who are scientists. Who are engineers. Who are astronauts. We need more role models, more examples, of women who have created a career in STEM for themselves. But who do girls look up to most? They look up to the girls just a few years older than them. And when we give girls valuable skills that they want to pass on to their younger peers, something truly powerful happens. Girls start to identify as technologically capable, as "good at science", and as a girl in STEM.
We need to continue to empower girls in the classroom. We need to give girls direct access to female role models.
In this picture, former Electric Girl passes on her knowledge to help a new Electric Girl build her first parallel circuit.
The Importance of Design
We give every Electric Girl a design journal so that she can carefully plan out her ideas before building. This gives girls a vision for what they're making, and helps them identify potential obstacles before taking on a task.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun....and Build, and Make, and...
[video] And another round of Electric Girls Summer Camp comes to a close. Wouldn't really be a summer camp without a big splash, would it? Here's a shot of a few of our girls getting soaked to the bone in 98 degree New Orleans humidity... Let's just say it's been a STEAM-y summer.
Future Female Audio Engineers
Did you know that the audio engineering industry is 95% male? Well, not at Electric Girls. These girls got the opportunity to not only visit a recording studio, but also got to record some music in there as well. We even wrote our own Electric Girls theme song. Soon to be released... :}
Every morning when the Electric Girls step foot in the classroom, they sit on a blanket for morning check-in. It's part of our routine. Each girl takes a turn holding the tool-of-the-day, and has a chance to express what she's excited about, what she's nervous about, and what she's proud of having made. This is our chance to debrief as a class and know where everyone's at.
Candy Wave Machine!
What exactly is sound? It's a simple questions that's tough to answer. Today, we tackled it-- using candy! The girls building this awesome machine to demonstrate how sound waves travel through air. [video]
Building this was a challenge! The girls split up in teams with designated jobs, calculated exactly how many candies they would need, and problem solved together to create this final masterpiece.
Second Summer Session!
We are so excited to welcome a new group of Electric Girls to summer camp. Here are two cousins taking things apart, to put them back again - reverse engineers in action!
This is what it looks like when girls use their imaginations to create something incredible. We can't wait to welcome a new group of girls to our next summer camp session, starting on Monday!
Two Weeks Too Fast...
Our first summer camp session has ended, and we miss it so much already. Time flies by when you spend it making, building, and learning.
Power Mac G4 = Bubble Blower Machine!
Electric Girls Summer Camp in action! Watch these girls turn your broken speakers and computers into automatic-bubble-blowers, lanterns, glowing eye-glasses, and more.
New Audio Equipment
An analog oscilloscope and white noise generator was donated to Electric Girls just in time for summer camp. We will be able to make some crazy noises and measure the frequency of electrical signals!
Draw + Audio = Drawdio!
Presenting... the Drawdio! This clever little device is really just a simple circuit board connected to a pencil (which, as our Electric Girls of New Orleans know, has conductive graphite). The Drawdio produces a pitch that changes frequency depending on the length of the circuit.
Electric Girls love Drawdios because they combine everything we've learned so far into one device: conductivity, circuit flow, frequency changes, as well as performance art and troubleshooting!
Electric Girls in New Orleans are creative and unstoppable - this clever lady rigged up her Drawdio to her earring, meaning that she completes the circuit without having to touch her own drawing.
Learning some soldering techniques from Ms. Flor!
Circuits, Circuits, Circuits!
Electric Girls meets Snap Circuits! I recommend this kit to any aged maker, builder, or learner. Snap Circuits are basically the Legos of circuit building. First, we learn about short circuits, series circuits, and parallel circuits. Afterward, the Electric Girls built musical alarms, sound activated fans, laser shows... the list goes on. I was very impressed to see a few girls build their own circuits without help from the book: we even had one functional motion detector!
Electric Remy made her own fan & music player circuit - very interesting results. You go, Remy!
MaKey MaKey and Conductivity
This week, we used the MaKeyMaKey hooked up to a variety of conductive objects (fruit, silverware, etc.) We demonstrated that the objects’ conductive properties can be used to control the on/off commands for a MIDI instrument.
This is all much more simple than it sounds -- basically, when you touch a banana, for example, it will play a note. Students will spend the day hooking up the MaKeyMaKey instrument to a variety of objects: which ones produce sound, and which ones don’t? Why does the metal fork play music whereas the plastic fork does not? Can you recognize what this Electric Girl is playing with her play-doh instrument?
What Will YOUR Electric Girl Make?
What Is Audio?
The Electric Girls tackle the fundamental properties of audio! Using a custom Max MSP patch, students manipulated bits of audio (Taylor Swift and One Direction, to be honestly precise). The Electric Girls controlled the following parameters in Max: frequency shift via playback speed, amplitude shift via volume control, and sample rate. These changes were also displayed visually on a spectrogram and a sonogram. The purpose of this first lesson is for students to realize the easiness of audio manipulation and to garner interest in Electric Girls. The Electric Girls can now upload any high quality audio file into the patch for tweaking in their freetime!
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