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Machine Masterminds: Building the Next Generation of Women in STEM

Photos of Girl Scouts working on their projects at Machine Masterminds

At Girl Scouts River Valleys we’re introducing Girl Scouts of every age to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and helping them see how they can use science to make the world a better place.

On March 10, Girl Scouts River Valleys hosted Machine Masterminds in collaboration with the National Association of Women in Construction in Rochester, MN. At the event, girls honed their invention skills and explored the world of robotics as they built simple machines. We were excited to welcome U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar who talked to the girls about the importance of getting women and girls involved in STEM fields.

The main lesson of the event: celebrate failure! 

When girls’ machines failed, they were encouraged to shout “epic fail!” and then everyone clapped and cheered for them. Instead of competing against one another, girls became more focused on building their own machines. The “epic fails!” created a energized environment where it was okay to fail and keep trying. As a result, girls took more risks and worked as a team, resulting in more successful machines. 

“My daughter is a very quiet and reserved kid. She usually does not want to try new things. It was so fun to see her come alive during the building process. She had such a genuine excitement to try out her ideas. I know, in part, it was due to feeling so supported in her efforts by the staff.”-Girl Scouts River Valleys Parent

Even after they achieved a successful machine, the girls wanted to continue making a stronger and better one, even if it involved a higher risk of failing. By working on their STEM skills, girls took home an important life skill—to embrace failure.  

“She loved all of it. Creating and building things in a fun environment was perfect. We are still using the term "epic fail" at our house. Love it.”-Girl Scouts River Valleys Parent

Senator Klobuchar was also among those shouting “epic fail!” as she helped girls while they constructed and tested their inventions. 

“I love the fact that they celebrate not only when they do things right, but when they do things wrong,” said Senator Klobuchar in her speech at the end of the event. “And the cry you hear of 'epic fail!' is something that maybe they should be admitting more in Washington.”

Whether this is their first STEM event they’ve attended or they’re looking to build upon what they’ve already learned, Girl Scouts can feel free to learn and explore as they take on new challenges, learn from failure, and try new solutions until they succeed.