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Girls, Engineering, Mathematics, and Science

This one-day workshop provides an opportunity for eighth-grade girls to explore interests in engineering, science, and technology. Scheduled every spring, the workshop lets students interact with professional women from industry, as well as with professors and students from SDSU. The goals of this workshop include introducing eighth-grade girls to engineering, math, and science; increasing student and parent knowledge in these areas; providing an environment that facilitates learning and excitement; and inspiring eighth-grade girls to continue to pursue the courses of study introduced during the workshop.

Planned Session Activities

Forensics-Who Dunnit?

Solve a crime using forensic science!

In this hands-on project, GEMS participants will use science and reasoning to learn how to collect and classify fingerprints, how to analyze mystery powders, how to use biological markers like foot length to estimate height, and how hair samples are analyzed. With help from South Dakota Forensic Lab, participants will see the science and the tools that are used in practice. Finally, the participants will be able to put their new found skills to the test and solve a crime by using deductive reasoning. A great interactive project with a large dose of science, math, analysis, and fun!


Moving from a science fiction novel to our workplace, robots are making a mark in history. They help humans with repetitive, dangerous, or delicate work. Who will design and program the robots of the future, and what will they do for us? In this hands-on project, participants will build a LEGO-Mindstorm robot car from Lego parts, program the car to navigate a "treacherous" maze. This interactive project provides the great lesson of "if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again."

Bridge Builder

Girls will practice and build their math and science skills in the "Bridge Builder" session. Participants will gain knowledge of bridge components, types, construction, engineering, and testing methods. Girls will practice engineering skills by designing, constructing, and testing model bridges.


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