VIDEO | Lamar Middle School Dressed in Code
For the past two school years, Lamar Middle School Library Media Specialist Kristi Taylor has facilitated the Circuit Girls program, a weekly club where girls meet to complete design challenges, learn about coding and circuitry, and computer science skills.
According to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that supports women in technology, while in middle school, 74 percent of girls express interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just .3 percent of high school girls select computer science.
Taylor believes by incorporating computer science and opportunities for girls to build their engineering skills through clubs like Circuit Girls, is an empowering way to promote technology and 21st century skills at Lamar.
“I want to bridge the gap for the lack of girls in technology, while having something successful and creative for students to be a part of,” Taylor said. “I hope my students don’t find technology to be scary and that they can look at a circuit board or a computer program, or anything that they have to learn for school, and go, ‘I can do this.’ It is all about empowerment.”
One recent and unique experience for the club this year stemmed from a Lewisville ISD Education Foundation grant for the Circuit Girls to create “wearables” with technology — think fashion meets coding. To create wearables, girls paired up to sew lights on various articles of clothing and then program the lights to illuminate. Later, they had the fun opportunity to present their high-tech fashion at the Texas Library Association’s Annual (TLA) Conference.
“Taking the girls to TLA was my favorite part of this year, because they got to see what other school libraries are doing across the state and see how excited librarians were about their e-sewing projects,” Taylor said.
The students were happy to share their creations with others at the conference.
“I liked how excited people were about the dress we worked on,” eighth-grader Sophia Stafford said. “I thought it was cool, and the librarians seemed to like the idea of doing something similar with their students. I’m glad we shared our project with them.”
According to Taylor, she has not only seen how the club has empowered her students, but she has been pleasantly surprised to learn how some are taking the opportunity to have the courage to make anything.
At the conference, eighth-grader Bethany Boerger shared, “And while Mrs. Taylor hopes that all of us will become engineers one day—don’t tell her I’m going into theatre, but thanks to the Circuit Girls program, I’ve found the confidence to be able to make anything.’”
Watch the video below to see some of the behind-the-scenes of the Circuit Girls creating their wearables.
Visit Lamar’s Library and Makerspace website for more information.