In 2013 Girls of Steel was awarded a grant from the Fox Chapel Area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to establish a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team in the Fox Chapel Area School District. Eighteen students applied to join the team, so we decided to start two teams – FLL team 6105 Foxes’ Fury and FLL team 9011 Replasm. The teams held meetings twice a week at the Cooper Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel, went on a field trip to Inventionland, and welcomed multiple guest speakers at their meetings. The teams competed in the 2013 FLL Nature’s Fury Challenge at a scrimmage and a regional qualifying event where FLL team 6105 Foxes’ Fury received a 2nd Place Award for Research, FLL team 9011 Replasm received a 3rd Place Award for Research, and Girls of Steel received the Youth Mentor Award. One of the teams, Foxes’ Fury qualified for the regional championship competition (February 2014) and received a 2nd Place Award for Research. In March 2014, Girls of Steel hosted a Research Symposium for local FLL teams to share their Nature’s Fury research projects with each others teams and guests.
Summer 2014, Girls of Steel held its first one week full day FLL camp for students from all over Pittsburgh. Fourteen students participated in a fun-filled collaborative camp where students were the teachers. FLL team 51, Not The Droids You Are Looking For, collaborated with us as mentors who helped with EV3 programming part of the camp, while high school students members of the Girls of Steel were the other mentors. Of course our adult mentors were there with us the whole time. Our camp was featured in the media here.
During the FLL World Class season of 2014, Girls of Steel founded two teams again, 4212 FIRST Lego Legends and 2641 Bricks, Sweat, and Gears. The 18 students come from 8 different schools in the Pittsburgh area. To support their research about ways to improve learning, the teams went on a field trip to the Carnegie Science Center and hosted two guest speakers, Mr. Steven Dang from Carnegie Mellon University, and Ms. Nikki Navta, owner of Zulama. At a recent competitive scrimmage, these two teams received a Mascot Award for Baymax and First LEGO Legends received the Rookie Award. This year, meetings are held twice a week at the Girls of Steel Practice Field in the Strip District. For more pictures, check out the Girls of Steel FLL Flickr! At the FLL Championships on January 17th, both teams competed well and the First LEGO Legends received a 1st Place Core Values Award for Gracious Professionalism.
Girls of Steel FLL teams at the regional Championships held at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, PA.
As well as the two teams previously mentioned, some of the Girls of Steel took the initiative to found teams in their own school districts. In 2013 Katie founded FBI, Females Bringing Inspiration in the Plum School District, and in 2014 Arushi founded, RamBots, in the Pine Richland School District. One of the unique things about the Girls of Steel FLL teams is that they maintain at least an equal gender ratio. We believe that it is important for girls and boys to get involved in STEM at a young age, before there is time for common stereotypes to sink in. As a result of this, the Girls of Steel pipeline to increase the number of girls in FRC and STEM was created. Check it out here!
The 2015 FLL season began with the second annual Girls of Steel FLL skills camp August 10-14, 2015 at the CMU/Girls of Steel robotics practice field located in the Strip District. There were 24 campers, 1 junior mentor, 4 Girls of Steel high school mentors, and several adult volunteers at camp. Photos are available here. Team meetings for FLL teams 2641, 4212, and 18137 started on Saturday, August 29th. The teams meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 pm and on Saturdays from 12 to 4 pm. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. We have used programming lessons from the Droids’ EV3Lessons.com website at camp and during team meetings.
Last year our friends Droids Robotics (FLL 51) wanted to host a kickoff event for FLL students so we collaborated with them and hosted the event at the Carnegie Mellon University/Girls of Steel Practice Field in September 2014. That event went so well that we offered to host the 2nd FLL Kickoff in Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 12, 2015. About 115 people (including our teams) attended, including members and families from the following teams 2996, 4481, 6087, 8698, 11529, 15947, 16435, 16737, 17822. It was inspirational and a lot of fun for the FLL teams to share the FLL Core Values activity and learn all about the Trash Trek missions while meeting each other at a noncompetitive event.
The Girls of Steel hosted a Halloween FLL Educational Scrimmage on October 31, 2015. 11 teams and about 150 people attended and had a howling good time. FLL 2641, Robotic Marvels, FLL 4212, Dot Dot Dot, and FLL 18137, The Green Gears, competed in multiple rounds, learned a lot, and had fun. Photos from the event are here.
The teams went on multiple field trips to Waste Management sites, visited the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, and enjoyed hearing from PPG environmental engineer. In addition they participated in a competitive scrimmage on December 12, 2015, winning an award for their joint performance of “Don’t Stop Believing”. Finally the 2015 season ended with project presentations on Demo Day on January 7th and the FLL Championship Competition on January 9, 2016, where all the teams competed well.
We kicked off the 2016-2017 FIRST LEGO League season’s challenge “Animal Allies” with our 3rd annual FLL Skills camp the week of August 8-12, 2016. The camp ran from 9 am to 3 pm at the Girls of Steel practice field located at NREC 10 40th Street Pittsburgh PA. The weekly FLL team meetings for FLL teams 2641 “CM BLUES”, 4212 “Dot Dot Dot” and 18137 “The Green Gears” began on Saturday, August 27th, with the final wrap-up meeting scheduled for January 18, 2017.
The teams hosted an educational scrimmage “The Halloween Bash” on October 29, 2016, attended a competitive scrimmage at Sewickley Academy on December 10, 2016, and finally competed in the open division at the regional FLL championship competition (photos here) at LaRoche College on January 6-7, 2017, where 4212 received a 1st place Core Values award for Gracious Professionalism and 18137 received a 2nd place Project award for Research. The teams met with multiple experts during the season: Dr. Alicia Hahn, veterinarian at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Meaghan and Sandy of the Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Center, Officers Tim and Logan with Sonic and Ari, Pittsburgh Police K9 Unit, and they hosted a Skype call with Ms. Erica Perl, an author of children’s books, such as Dotty.
Contact us at girlsofsteelroboticsFLL@gmail.com if you have any questions and/or sign up here to receive an application for FLL camp or the 2017 FLL program. Join us for the 2017 challenge called “Hydro Dynamics.” Here’s a link to the teaser video.