Serious Cycling Play in Seattle



Cycling is Serious Play, and Bike Works proves it!

Based in Columbia City, Seattle, Bike Works’ cycling programs are creating ways to get kids playing outdoors, even though their neighborhoods lack safe play spaces. From their all-girl bike mechanics training program to their leadership programs and guided cycling rides and tours, Bike Works is shaking things up in Seattle.

Bike Works is a not-for-profit bike shop that uses its programming to get kids playing, to teach bike mechanics and leadership skills, to foster mentoring relations and a strong sense of community, and help raise awareness for sustainability issues. (more…)

The 2011 Invention Convention: Celebrating Science-Minded Students

Sol, Inventor of the Carbon Monoxide Sensor

The 2011 Invention Convention challenged 114 of the top student inventors in Western New York to create an invention that solved an everyday problem. This past Saturday, the ambitious young inventors exhibited their creative solutions at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Among the submissions was a new Carbon Monoxide Sensor devised to radically reduce the number of carbon monoxide related deaths in the US each year. The sensor was developed by a young woman named Sol, a 3rd year Invention Convention veteran currently in 6th grade.  “The problem,” Sol explained, “is that so few renters think to purchase carbon monoxide detectors.” Sol’s research uncovered that unless people own their own home, they assume someone else is responsible for ensuring air safety. Sol’s sensor is small, affordable, and is designed to be installed directly into a furnace’s exhaust stack. Unlike the carbon monoxide detectors currently on the market, Sol’s sensor alerts residents before carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels, and is actually capable to shutting off a household furnace if gas levels do become dangerous.

Egeria, inventor of the Come Along livestock herderAnother inventor, Egeria, proudly exhibited a field-tested prototype for a new agricultural device that uses sound to herd livestock. Egeria constructed the device from PVC piping and installed the unit around the perimeter of her horse’s pasture. She was able to successfully herd the horse into the barn simply by controlling the direction of sound through the piping.

Other inventions included a locating device for television remote controls, a backyard zamboni for resurfacing backyard ice rinks, an automatic plant watering system, and a Snow Vacuum that uses suction to easily clear snow from hard-to-shovel areas while simultaneously filtering the snow to create potable water.

Mackenzie, inventor of The Remote Locator While math and science tend to be male-dominated fields, young female inventors significantly outnumbered their male counterparts at this year’s event.

The Invention Convention is a juried competition that was created nine years ago to help drive students’  interest in maths and sciences. The event works to encourage creative, strategic problem-solving and to present challenges as opportunities for innovation. After meeting the exhibitors at this year’s event, it’s clear the event is on the right track! If you’re in the Western New York area and have a young inventor who might like to participate in next year’s event, you can check out the WNY Kids Invent website for more details.

Congratulations to all of the outstanding exhibitors!

In: The 2010 Threats to Girlhood Report, page 44.

The Girl Scouts of San Diego: Tackling Leadership Aversion

The single greatest factor deterring girls from leadership roles is actually a lack of confidence in their concrete skills and abilities (1)

Leadership aversion is a Threat to Girlhood that perpetuates gender inequality…

So, the Girl Scouts of San Diego have developed a brand new experiential leadership training program called “The Adventure Zone” to help girls tackle their leadership aversions, build their confidence in concrete skill sets, and breakout of their comfort zones.

The Adventure Zone combines discussions and leadership training with an outdoor adventure course that progressively challenges girls to work collaboratively and put their hard-earned skills to the test. From ropes and logs to a 40 foot high climbing tower, the course is designed to help girls challenge their fears, understand their own strengths, and work together.

The program helps girls develop confidence in concrete skills, get active and be outdoors, understand group dynamics, recognize personality differences and leadership styles, identify their own emotional comfort zones, and understand the difference between their own comfort zones and the comfort zones of others.

If you’re in the Greater San Diego Area and have a group of girls who’d like to conquer their fears and challenge themselves on the course, you can register your gals for the program. Registration details and course fees are available on the Adventure Zone website.

1. Girl Scout Research Institute, “Change It Up: What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership.” 2008, p. 17-19.

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