All-girls FIRST LEGO League teams join Amazing Girls Science program for Greater Norwalk communities
Norwalk resident Dr. Cynthia Barnett, a retired former assistant principal at Brien McMahon High School, leads the Saturday Academy, an all-girls program that attracts more than 100 girls ages 9-14 and their mentors who meet weekly at the Stepping Stones Museum and organize twice-a year Amazing Girls Science conferences at Norwalk Community College.
Those experiences motivated her to form three girls-only FIRST LEGO League teams: Team # 3077, the Fast and Furious Cheetahs, Team 7307, the Super Science Sisters, a Girl Scouts team, and Team 15396, Brainy Bunch, which now involve 21 girls and their parents from Norwalk, Fairfield, Weston and Noroton.
Dr. Barnett’s three FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams are among 180 FLL teams that are active in Connecticut this year. The three teams meet from 10 a.m. to noon weekly at the Saturday Academy and have begun to gather information and prepare for this year’s FLL competition, Senior Solutions.
This year’s FLL Senior Solutions challenge is engaging more than 300,000 9 to 14-year-olds—supported by 100,000 mentors, coaches and volunteers in more than 60 countries—to solve a problem faced by seniors as they age.
The competition includes a research project . It also requires teams to assemble and program a small LEGO MINDSTORMS® robot, and compete in qualifying matches around the state. Teams that win Connecticut’s seven qualifying FLL matches will compete in Connecticut FIRST’s FIRST LEGO League State Championships, to be held December 9 at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
Girls on the three FLL teams that Dr. Barnett mentors are researching memory loss, hearing loss and computers, and are in the process of interviewing seniors about how they cope with loss of these senses and how they use technology.
“Forming the Saturday Academy and our Amazing Girls Conferences has been a labor of belief and love for me, the Girl Scout troops working with us, the Stepping Stones Museum, Connecticut FIRST and dozens of parents,” said Dr. Barnett. “Ours is a comprehensive program that provides the hands on learning for girls that I am so passionate about. Our three girls-only FIRST LEGO League teams have brought even more teachers, parents and mentors into the effort.”
To continue and expand, the Amazing Girls Science Saturday Academy and FIRST LEGO League programs are seeking both individual and corporate contributions.
Those who want to ignite the spark of science for girls can visit the Amazing Girls web site at amazinggirlsscience.com/donate/give-today or contact Dr. Cynthia Barnett at 203.855.9714 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are, or know of, other FLL teams who should be showcased, please let us know.