littleBits Competition Brings Boys and Girls to STEAM Through the Power of Star Wars—Do You Wanna Built a Droid?!
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) programs, while often gutted and underfunded in our education systems, are one of the most important outlets for children to express themselves and channel their frustrations into something positive. That is what makes the current littleBits Competition so much fun.
littleBits and Lucasfilm have teamed up to host a droid-designing competition that will help empower children to get invested in STEAM programs. “Star Wars has always expanded kids’ imaginations and inspired them to see what is possible,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “We’re excited to collaborate with all of these incredible companies and littleBits to showcase the power of STEAM in action and inspire the next generation of inventors.” Star Wars is the perfect franchise to explore something like this: not only is it filled with creative technology, it is also a franchise filled with optimism and protagonists that prove good can triumph over evil.
The competition will run from November 15, 2017 to January 10, 2018. Fans and families will be able to submit their own Droid design creations, with qualifying submissions judged by Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley (the actress who portrays Rey in the current Star Wars trilogy) and Kelly Marie Tran (the actress who portrays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi) alongside Ayah Bdeir (founder and CEO of littleBits) and Kathleen Kennedy (president of Lucasfilm).
On the 15th, children from local organizations including Black Girls CODE, Booker T. Washington School Community Center, The Boys & Girls Club, and the YMCA were taken to the Lucasfilm San Francisco campus for “Droidathon,” which was the official kick-off of the competition. Kids were able to speak with inventors about their ideas and also meet Star Wars star Kelly Marie Tran, who is the best of people.
littleBits’s founder is MIT alum Ayan Bdeir, who started the organization back in 2011 as a way to bridge the gap between men and women in STEAM by creating a “gender-neutral platform” and “attracting an industry high thirty-five percent of young girls to invent with littleBits.”
I am immensely looking forward to what the program will be able to accomplish and the fun droid designs that will come from it. I especially love that the program did amazing outreach to boys and girls from different backgrounds. That is the future of STEAM, and it looks pretty damn good. If you know any little kiddies who would like to take part, more information can be found here.
(image: littleBits )
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