On 11th April 2022, we hosted ‘Girls Day at DTU’ – an event for girls in high schools to come to the Technical University of Denmark to explore the world of robotics. This event has been arranged by us with the help of Tuborgfondet and DTU.
The day started with welcoming the girls to DTU at 10:00, where we wanted to break the ice among the participants, as everyone in the program had come from all around the Zealand area. We did a small game where we made 2 rows, and each girl had to say her name, her school, and a fun fact about herself. Then came the introduction to the aim and goal of the day. We wanted to create a fun day for girls, therefore the girls were asked to code their robots, as if they were to participate in a talent show, so a robot talent show. The girls were provided with 2 kinds of robots, one with wheels, which has the ability to roam around, and another one which acts as an arm. There was no official framework to what was to be done, the only requirement was that the robot should show a talent. This allowed the girls to be innovative and think out of the box as to how can a robot be taught something like a talent.
After that, we hosted a 30-minute programming class to give the girls a chance to see how the programming software works. We kept the class super short, because we wanted to give the girls the maximum amount of time to work with the software themselves, and we believe trial and error leads to most learning. The girls started off with familiarising themselves to the robots and brainstorming of what can be the best way to code the robot. At 12, it was lunch time, and this is when the highlight of the event came for us as organisers, it was the fact that we wanted the girls to have a break for an hour, but one girl came back into the class to ask, if they finish lunch earlier, then can they start coding earlier. This goes to show how involved the girls were in the coding and were eager to get back.
After lunch, we wanted to introduce the girls to DTU, and gave them a tour of the Electrical Department at DTU. We went through the lab in the Autonomous and Robotics Department, where girls got to visit the lab where DTU students work with robots. We got to see 3 kinds of robots, there were some small ones, which are used in courses by students. The other kind was a bigger one, which has been built by DTU and used for various competitions, and the 3rd one was a 3D-printed robot. Then, we went to the labs at the Center for Electric Power and Energy, and the girls were especially intrigued once they saw the PowerLab, and heard about all the fun projects that are currently being done there.
After the tour, we came back to the class where the girls got to carry on with coding their robots. As the girls were working in 3 different groups, they were given the task to create a poster to showcase their robot’s talent. We did this, because we also wanted to incorporate something creative into the workshop, because even though engineering is a technical line, but communication is an extremely important aspect of it. It is as important to communicate one’s findings, as it is to find those findings.
During the poster session, we got to see how each group had come up with different ideas. The first group coded 2 robots, so the one with the wheels was programmed to follow the path created by red papers, which allowed the girls to understand the sensors on the robot. At the end of the path, they had the arm robot, which was used a source of encouragement for the wheely robot, so it would say some fun things, like “You can do this!” while doing some motions. The second group decided to connect both the wheely, and the arm robot. Their robot’s talent was that they coded a disco robot, which changed colours and danced around while they created their own song using different tunes in the program. The third group also used both the wheely, and the arm robot, and they too made a dancing robot, and even added a hat and a face to personalise the robot. They decided to use an external speaker attached to the robot, and their robot had 3 options to choose from, and then depending on the option chosen the robot did 3 different choreographies.
The day was concluded with a survey, so that NWiSTEM could better the upcoming events, and it gives us a good indication of which direction the organisation should go. We are extremely happy to announce that the survey is evidence for the fact that the event has been a success. I would like to give special thanks to the girls who came to DTU and spent a day with us learning about robotics. We hope, the day was full of learning and fun. Another huge thank you to the NWiSTEM representatives: Anja, Arendse, Neha, and Spardha. It is because of these women that the day was the success that it was. Lastly, we are extremely grateful to Silvia Tolu who got us the allowance to use DTU's resources without her guidance and support nothing would be possible. We are grateful for the team of women we now have, and are already excited to host our next event!