SciTech is an after-school program developed by the Fleet Science Center for fourth through sixth grade girls at San Diego area elementary schools. Participating school sites help facilitate the students meeting two hours per week to engage in hands-on science investigations on everything from solar car design to the chemistry of cosmetics. Through project-based learning, students make concrete connections to everyday life while developing creative thinking and problem-solving skills that they will use throughout their lives.
The application process is now closed for the 2016 – 2017 school year. We are planning on posting applications for the 2017 – 2018 school year in late spring 2017. Please check back for updates. Feel free to send SciTech-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time of year.
SciTech inspires girls to become innovative and creative thinkers by fostering excitement and interest in science, technology, and engineering.
Through inquiry-based, collaborative investigations and interactions with female role models, SciTech aims to:
- Build self-confidence and scientific literacy among girls in San Diego area schools
- Foster an interest in science, technology, and engineering careers
- Make science accessible to girls in underrepresented communities
- Develop connections between girls and the local scientific community
One of the biggest events in the SciTech program is the Tech Challenge! In the weeks leading up to the challenge, students must problem solve and design inventions to complete a specific task. This year's Tech Challenge was to build a device to help clean up trash and debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch! During class sessions leading up to the challenge, lessons focused on the types of trash and animals that reside in these large gyres scattered across our globe, as well as efforts already in place to help clean up the oceans. The SciTech girls worked in teams to build unique devices that could retrieve the trash from the ocean, while ensuring plants and animals remained unharmed in their environment. All the teams kept SciTech Journals during the challenge, documenting their progress through the steps of the Engineering Process. At every school site, each team had the opportunity to demonstrate how their devices worked. After seeing all the devices demonstrated, classes voted to select two winners to represent their school at the final Tech Challenge Competition (at the Fleet Science Center). At the Tech Challenge Competition, each team was given 3 minutes to demonstrate their device's ability to collect plastic bottles and ping-pong balls while avoiding the fish and plants scattered throughout the ocean. Device designs varied across the teams. Some teams opted to focus on distance and created devices that would be able to access trash up to 10 feet away from the boat railing. Other groups chose to create devices that could be manipulated to pick up both large and small pieces of trash in the ocean. Many of the projects incorporated aspects of a mechanical hand, using their Tech Challenge materials to build a claw that opened and closed with the pull of a triggering mechanism. Thank you to everyone involved in making this year’s Tech Challenge a big success!
Click here for information on challenge scenarios that you can try with your school!
Funding for SciTech is provided by General Atomics, ResMed, the Rice Family Foundation, Time Warner Cable, and United Technologies Corporation Aerospace Systems.
Rice Family Foundation