SciTech is an after-school program developed by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for fourth through sixth grade girls at San Diego elementary schools. The girls meet 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, the girls make concrete connections to everyday life while developing creative thinking and problem solving skills that they will use throughout their lives.
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 which students must problem solve and design inventions to complete a specific task. This year’s challenge is Seismic Engineering in Action, for which Tech Challenge participants will work together to build an earthquake-safe structure! The Tech Challenge final competition will take place on March 28th, 2015.
For last year, in the Pacific Gyre challenge on March 16th, 2014, SciTech student engineers were challenged to design and build a device to help them remove trash from the Pacific Gyre without harming marine life. Girls from the Fleet’s SciTech after school program tested their trash retrieval devices by removing items, such as ping pong balls and 2-liter soda bottles, from our simulated Pacific Gyre without harming the fish and plants present on the course. In 2014, the competition was open to the public and took place during STEAM Day out on the Balboa Park Prado under the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center tent.
Armed with their devices and dedication to teamwork, engineering, and science, the SciTech girls impressed a large public audience with their ability to remove trash from the ocean while leaving the marine life and plants unharmed. The Kimbrough Tweeties finished in first place picking up all of the trash on the course without knocking over any fish or plants! After the competition, the students even taught visitors to Balboa Park how to test the devices. The day was a huge success!
Click here for information on challenge scenarios that you can try with your school!
Funding for SciTech is provided by Qualcomm, the Motorola Foundation, and Time Warner Cable.