Lucan Girl Guides blast off ‘Into Orbit’ with exciting project

by Padraig Conlon

Four Lucan Girl Guides were among a group of 21 Irish Girl Guides who blasted off ‘Into Orbit’ at a recent LEGO Robotics Summer Academy.

The local girls all successfully completed a mission in Dublin City University’s LEGO Education Innovation Studio during the four-day camp which was run by LearnIT LEGO.

The camp included many fun and challenging activities that helped the girls to develop skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The four local girls worked with other Girl Guides from around the country to conduct research projects relating to real-world challenges.

The girls, Natalie Ozougwu (12), Blessing Soyele (13), Joanna Ozougwu (15) and Emily Ruth Brennan (16), were selected from dozens of aspiring Irish Girl Guides space explorers who applied to take part in the project.

Through a series of hands-on, engaging workshops, the girls discovered programming concepts, experienced elements of computational thinking and developed an understanding of a range of mechanical engineering procedures.

Natalie Ozougwu (12)

They worked in teams of four researching topics as varied as radiation to depression and loneliness in space.

At the end of the four-day academy, each group gave a presentation on their research project at a special ceremony, which many of the girls’ parents attended.

Each team also participated in a robotics challenge using the robots they had designed and programmed.

Dara Callanan, an Irish Girl Guides leader from Drogheda who recently qualified as a Science teacher from DCU, said the Guides had enjoyed their time exploring STEM.

“It’s been great to see them engage with STEM challenges in a fun and interesting way,” she said.

“It’s great too to see them being collaborative thinkers and resilient problem-solvers.

“Each group had to be determined to fix every problem they encountered, even when their robot seemed to have a mind of its own and wasn’t quite doing what they wanted it to,” she said.

“Taking part in the academy reminded the girls that it’s OK not to be perfect first time around and that making mistakes and working hard on something can actually make it better than it ever could be with just a perfect first try.”

At the special ceremony at the close of the Academy, each girl was presented with a certificate and a medal by IGG chief commissioner Helen Concannon and Prof Deirdre Butler of DCU’s STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies department.

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