Virtual STEM fun with the Brownies and Guides

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[Blog by Technocamps Schools Liaison Officer, Joanne Ralph]

I have been Schools Liaison Officer for Technocamps for the past two years and before that I was a secondary school science teacher. Within both roles I have always strived to engender enthusiasm for STEM subjects in young people, especially girls.

My daughter was a Brownie, and every week came home excited to regale us with information on what activities they had been doing that evening, but I soon noticed that very few activities were STEM related. I passionately believed that Technocamps could work with Brownies, Guides and Rangers to support them and provide inspirational STEM sessions. Having spoken to a few leaders it was clear that many did not have the knowledge or resources to facilitate this type of session.

I put my plan into place and I posted a short message on their local Facebook page and was immediately inundated with responses. During March, Technocamps ran a Brownie session and three Guides sessions every week, this resulted in us delivering to over 60 Guides and 70 Brownies. The feedback was amazing:

  • “Great session tonight – my girls loved it and I’ve had lots of messages from parents saying how much the girls got out of it etc – looking forward to next week!”
  • “A massive thank you from all of us, we’ve had great feedback from the parents, and it seems the whole family enjoyed the event. It seems really well planned, and the girls particularly enjoyed the scavenger hunt repeated patterns activity towards the end”

So, what exactly did we deliver? As you can imagine, having over 60 Brownies in one Zoom session was pretty intense, especially when they were all giving us (or I should say shouting) instructions on an algorithm to make a cup of tea. I felt really sorry for both Delivery Officers, Luke and Nia, who had to drink the tea that they made. One cup even involved a large amount of sugar, very little water and some tomatoes! During another session, they deciphered codes using many different cryptographic techniques with both Caesar and pig pen ciphers. They also spent an evening making a Scratch game – watch out Fortnite!

The Guides enjoyed a heated debate on the ethics of technology and tried to “Escape the Zoom” by completing a range of challenges including a scavenger hunt to complete patterns and culminating in us all learning the hand gesture algorithm for the Tik Tok song, When I Popped Off, resulting in lots of laughter at us “oldies” trying to keep up! I don’t think that any of us will become internet sensations but hopefully we can become STEM stars and continue to embolden another generation.

If you are interested in running extra-curricular evening sessions, please get in touch!