How Girls Inc. Went to the Moon

During the most recent Wiz Prodigy Competition, a group of girls from Girls Inc. Northern Alberta took us on a journey “to the moon” with their Wiz Prodigy Space Rover. We had an opportunity to chat with them on their STEM learning experience through the competition with the hopes of inspiring more like-minded youths.

Back in March 2022, we wrote a blog post highlighting to the continuous gender equality problem in STEM fields. In order to combat this issue for the future generation, we pointed out that:

Correcting negative perceptions and eliminate biases at a young age can help students embrace STEM. This will give students an opportunity to take up an interest in STEM and provide them with ample time to learn more throughout their academic years.

There are a few important organizations out there that advocates for gender equality in STEM and empowers girls to succeed.

Introducing Girls Inc.

Girls Inc. is a nonprofit organization that encourages all girls to be “Strong, Smart, and Bold”. Their Operation SMART program seeks to motivate girls to achieve educational and career goals, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Having heard about this amazing organization, we were more than thrilled to learn that three students from the Girls Inc. of Norther Alberta in Canada participated in the most recent Wiz Prodigy Competition!

Meet the Team Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta

The Girls Inc. team at the Wiz Prodigy Competition was made up of three enthusiastic students eager to learn more about robotics and coding.

Their space rover was cool galaxy-themed and constructed from cardboard for its light weightiness and sturdiness. They had used wooden wheels, dowels and beads as a wheel mechanism for the wagon to complete one of the competition challenges and popsicle sticks as a hitch to connect the wagon to the rover.

We had the opportunity to sit down with the three participants Tanishka, Willow, and Parinika, along with Abby — the Senior Coordinator of Girls Inc. Northern Alberta to chat about their experience with the competition.

Pictured above (from left to right): Tanishka, Parinika, and Willow with their Wiz Prodigy space rover

Q: What are your thoughts on the Wiz Prodigy Competition?

Willow: It was nice working in a team. Since this was my first time coding, or doing anything STEM, I thought it was going to be a lot harder. But it was easy (I guess).

Tanishka: It was definitely a great introduction to try something new. It was difficult at first but the tutorials on the Wiz Prodigy platform really helped me understand the concepts. It was easier for us to code our rover.

Q: Was this your first time coding or being in a STEM Competition?

Tanishka: I’ve participated in after school clubs and robotics teams. I’ve competed in robotics teams as well.

Parinika: I’ve taken computer classes and robotics classes in my school. I’ve also done robotics competitions

Q: What was your favourite part about the competition?

Parinika: I enjoyed making the body. It was a fun experience for construction purposes.

Tanishka: I love the programming part because I got to learn many new things I’ve never done before.

Willow: I drew the design of the robot and I liked painting it.

Pictured above: The galaxy pattern of the space rover

Q: Why do you think it’s important for people to get involved in STEM?

Tanishka: It’s a great thing and it’s really fun to learn and to do. The world is changing really quickly and technology is developing really quickly. If you know a little bit about STEM, it could really help you with your future career and hobby.

Willow: It’s important because you learn lots of things. It’s nice to start something new.

Parinika: It’s important to learn STEM. It’s used to help people in multiple fields. It’s constantly developing.

Q: Are you thinking of pursuing a future in STEM?

Willow: I have no idea what I’m going to be doing. Maybe.

Tanishka: It’s a little early for me to decide what I’m going to be doing in the future but I love software engineering so maybe something about that.

Pictured above: Team Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta in conversation with the Wiz team

Q: Do you have any advice for students who are thinking about joining the next Wiz Prodigy competition?

Willow: It would be helpful if you know a few things about coding. Because if not, it could be really confusing.

Tanishka: The best advice I could give to someone was “never give up. When we were trying to program our rovers and things didn’t work, we got really frustrated. We encouraged each other and made it to the end.

Parinika: I would say that no matter what program you are facing, try to look for solutions and look for a way to solve the problem.

We enjoyed chatting with the Girls Inc. team. A few key points that we should all take away is that:

  • Don’t be afraid to try something new! Even if it might sound daunting at first. Not everyone on the Girls Inc. were experts in STEM. It’s their enthusiasm that made it a great learning experience
  • Don’t give up when faced with obstacles! Who said coding and robotics will be easy? It’s always important to work through the problems because that’s the best way to learn.
  • It’s okay to experiment! You never know until you try it out.

Special thanks to Willow, Tanishka, Parinika, and Abby for sharing their experience with the Wiz Prodigy Competition and advice for future participants!

Watch the interview video below

Going beyond STEM Competitions

At Wiz Robotics, our STEM classes offer exciting and engaging opportunities for students to practice problem solving.

Try a demo class and see for yourself!

About Girls Inc. Operation SMART

The Girls Inc. experience empowers girls to succeed. Girls Inc. provides girls with trusting mentoring relationships, a girls-only environment, and research-based, hands-on programming. Three critical goals drive our programming: to help girls achieve healthy lives, succeed academically, and acquire the life skills needed to prepare them for adulthood.

Girls Inc. Operation SMART develops girls’ enthusiasm for and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through hands-on activities, girls explore, ask questions, persist, and solve problems. By interacting with women and men pursuing STEM careers, girls come to view these careers as exciting and realistic options for themselves.

Girls Inc. Operation SMART is an approach that each organization can apply to its own programming. Girls Inc. organizations may also implement one or more of the following components that have been built around the SMART philosophy.

Learn more about the Girls Inc. Operation SMART here.

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