Many young girls, and gown-up girls for that matter, think that LEGOs are for just boys -- not girls. And I guess if we were just talking about the toy LEGO building sets, they would be right -- toy LEGO sets are mostly marketed and made for boys.
But not NXT Mindstorms or FLL (First LEGO League) competitions! These are marketed for boys and girls alike.
It has been my experience that girls make not only great robot builders, but also programmers. So how do you get girls to join a team that they perceive as being a "boy's" thing?
We chewed on this problem at my elementary school for a while before we came up with our solution: address it directly. So at the beginning of each year (about mid-August), I go into every fourth and fifth grade class and I talk to them about the upcoming FLL competition and I tell the students that the teams are open to both boys and girls and I explain how much fun it is. I show the "Zoom" video about FLL that comes on the DVD when you register a team. If I can, I will usually have a boy and girl from the previous year tell about what is involved with FLL and how much fun it is. I also make sure that the photo slideshow that I present has some shots of girls being an important part of the team.
So how do you get more girls in FLL? You actively recruit them! And trust me, you won't be disappointed.
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary School