I am the first to admit that math and engineering are not my areas of strength. I am definitely heavy into words.
I freely admit that math boggles my mind. This does not mean I'm stupid.
Despite this, I have a daughter who excels at math. in fact, when I asked her to explain music theory to me - she's got an A in that class - she immediately lost me when she remarked, "It's easy! It's all math based - and if you get math, you'll understand music theory!"
Ahem. I still don't get music theory.
Engineers make the world a better place. They create everything we use - and the engineering world is predominately male oriented. In fact, only 11% of the engineers worldwide are female, even though Engineering and Technology are the fastest growing job segments in the world. That's a staggeringly small number. Our population is pretty close to a 50% split female and male - so imagine how much better the things we use every day would be if they were designed by both genders!
Recently, I was invited to learn more about GoldieBlox, a great new company for girls, founded by Debbie Sterling. Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math. GoldieBlox is a book series + construction set that engages kids to build through the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Debbie writers and illustrates Goldie's stories. In other words, this company was created to expose girls to engineering concepts from a very young age. GoldieBlox helps young girls develop spatial skills, understand basic engineering principles and build self-confidence in problem solving. As young girls internalize and learn more effectively through storytelling, GoldieBlox marries the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who loves to build, with a construction kit.
Why would someone need to create an engineering game/toy for girls? Girls and boys learn the same, don't they?
In her research into gender related learning differences, Debbie discovered that the two genders can be extrapolated into two camps - Build and Story vs. Build and Smash. Girls love stories and characters. They want to know why things happen - and, like it or not, they gravitate towards toys in the pink and purple color families - so, even though some say it's gender stereotyping, it makes sense to create a toy with which they will want to engage - something they will look at more than once.
Basically, if you incorporate the "Why", girls want to join in the play.
Recently, I participated in a discussion group with Debbie, and was thrilled to be able to ask her a burning question.
What makes GoldieBlox different from the other building sets out there - Legos, Erector Sets, Tinker Toys, etc?
GoldieBlox contains a story element - the pink and purple toys, so colored to appeal to girls, come with a book series. This series encourages girls to create a world that Goldie lives in. (Goldie is a character Sterling created based on her favorite spunky, fun literary characters - Eloise, Matilda, and Punky Brewster.) Sterling wants Goldie to be a beloved character, a character who grows with your girl and becomes a model to follow.
Sterling has great plans for this small company - GoldieBox are currently sold in ToysRUs and Books A Million, as well as many smaller independent shops - but she's shooting to get shelf space at Wal-Mart and Target. In order to do that, Sterling applied to a contest run by Intuit to win an ad in the Superbowl. Out of 15,000 applicants, the company was selected as a Top 4 Finalist. Want to help them get a 30 second ad on SuperBowl Sunday? You can vote here: http://bit.ly/Vote4Goldie
Like so many girls, Debbie Sterling was born an engineer...she just didn't know it. She's working to inspire the next generation of female engineers through GoldieBlox - a construction toy that marries storytelling with engineering, and opens the world of STEM to girls ages 5 and up. Watch the video to learn about the inspiration for GoldieBlox and the impact it's making on girls and their families.
Debbie is one of the newest members of #PassionProject, an American Express® program designed to enable, inspire and encourage people to pursue their passion projects. With #PassionProject, American Express is supporting a new generation of makers, creators and mold-breakers tapping into vibrant web communities to identify the stories of men and women living their passions every day. Not only does American Express showcase these inspiring #PassionProjects, but Membership also enables their #PassionProject to take the next step forward thanks to the strength of the American Express network.
To learn more about the members of #PassionProject and watch their stories here.
Want to win a GoldieBlox and the Parade Float” toy? Leave me an answer to this question: "How will GoldieBlox inspire a young girl in your life?”
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