Wise Guys and Gals addresses a well-documented need to engage under-represented middle
school youth, particularly females, in STEM. The benefits of increased STEM
engagement include enhanced mastery and application of STEM concepts both in
middle school and beyond, greater interest in pursuing advanced study in STEM areas
and ultimately a better STEM prepared workforce. This project also helps
middle school youth develop competences in
the day-to-day application of STEM knowledge
and thinking, as well as an increased awareness of
the civic and social relevance of STEM.
video guides provide detailed facilitator guidance
for each activity in less than 10 minutes. Click to view.
Youth design their own avatar, which they can revise whenever they wish. They use the WISEngineering environment, login and become familiar with its features.
Optimum Potato Chips
Children determine the best potato chip, introducing the concept of optimization. The idea of an optimum chip is challenging for many who expect a correct answer.
The magic of kaleidoscopes is brought to life as children design their own kaleidoscopes, which they can bring home, while learning about optics along the way.
Design for Sound
Youth find that designing a simple speaker that they can use on their smart device is easy and, it introduces the concept of induced magnetism by an electrical current.
Need Some Support?
Youth learn about structural design as they work to create a structure that will support many text books. A performance factor is presented to encourage trade-offs.
Is All Slimes Engineered Equally?
Children investigate making slime using simple ingredients like water, borax and white glue. Its chemical characteristics are explained with simple graphics.
Hover Above it All
Youth learn how hovercraft function and apply this knowledge as they create their own hovercraft and test them against one another.
WuGGs to the Rescue
Youth will need to design a shoe (a WuGG) with limited materials so that they can walk in a variety of conditions—wet, uphill and downhill, fast, slow.
Children learn about programming in this activity that challenges them to design in Scratch(TM) two dancers with coordinated moves and musical accompaniment.
Children hone their design skills as they create a solar cooker to make S’mores. In the process they learn about solar energy and its use as a fuel source.
Youth develop and apply their knowledge of chemical reactions, using Alka Seltzer to to power a rocket. They also learn about rocket stability with use of fins.
Design Your Path
Children design a path that takes the longest for the marble to move from the top to the bottom of the board, gaining a deeper understandings of energy.
Splash Down Water Game Design
Children design an arcade game that uses squirting water from a pressurized container to knock over bottles, move containers and and try to avoid each other!
Filter Your Yucky Water
Safe, fresh water is not available in much of the world. Children are challenged to filter yucky water that smells and is discolored to become potable.
Youth gain a much deeper understanding of prosthetic devices and empathy for users as they are challenged to create and use a prosthetic leg attached to their knee.
Wise Guys & Gals is funded by the National Science
Foundation grant 1422436.