Inventing and innovating

Get inventing and innovating with your girls this International Women in Engineering Day

08 June 2022

23 June will mark the ninth year celebrating International Women in Engineering Day, which focuses on raising the profile of women in engineering and highlighting the career opportunities available to women and girls within this industry.

Girlguiding’s research shows that nearly half of girls aged 11-21 want to see more representation of women in science and technology - that’s why we love to celebrate this day! Especially as STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) industries have typically been largely male dominated in the past.

This year’s theme is Inventors and Innovators, celebrating pioneers in engineering and technology with a series of short films, to inspire the next generations of female engineers. The aim of these shorts is to show that there’s no single path into engineering, but that drive and determination is what’s led each of them to build a better world through a career based on problem solving.

Our friends at Rolls-Royce, who sponsor stages 2, 4 and 6 of the Innovate Skills Builder, share our commitment to challenging stereotypes around science, technology, engineering and maths. And seek to inspire a new generation of young women into these industries.

Rolls-Royce also know a thing or two about being inventors and innovators. Through the activities we have created for the Innovate Skills Builder, girls can carry out scientific experiments, create algorithms for robots, learn about binary and have a go at being crime scene investigators!

Through the Innovate Skills Builder, girls are empowered to discover what inspires them, to develop their individual creativity and the skills to think differently and generate unique solutions.

Each of the activities aim to encourage girls to develop the skills they need to use and program computers. Although the link to computers may not always be obvious, girls will still be building valuable skills in logic, problem solving and programming.

Here’s how our friends at Rolls-Royce think we can get inventing and innovating this International Women in Engineering Day!

Science can be found everywhere - in kitchen cupboards, in the bath, even in cake! Exploring science is about trying new ways of doing things and taking a guess. The ‘Exciting experiments’ activity in the stage 1 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder is a great way to get Rainbows experiencing science. They’ll get messy, make a splash, play with magnets and experiment with fire!

Inventors are usually inspired by nature and everyday life and use their findings to create something brand new and brilliant. Rainbows and Brownies can become inventors too with the ‘I have an idea…’ activity in the stage 2 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder, which will get them working as a team to come up with their own wonderful creations!

Trial and error are key to invention and innovation. Rainbows or Brownies will learn to measure the results of their experiments and draw conclusions with the ‘Made to measure’ activity found in the stage 2 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder. Will their trials be plain sailing, or will there be some interesting developments?

Problem solving skills are integral to engineering. Take on the ‘Build it up’ activity found in the stage 3 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder to get Brownies and Guides reaching for the sky. They’ll practise their problem-solving skills and get the engineering know-how to building a skyscraper. Will they make instant engineering history or think of some improvements along the way…?

On many occasions we need to be able to think outside of the box to come up with innovative ideas. The ‘Walk of the town’ activity in the stage 4 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder will get Guides thinking creatively to come up with innovative solutions for their local areas.

The work of an engineer goes beyond buildings, tunnels, and airplanes. Clinical engineers create medical tools like prosthetic limbs, scanners and surgical equipment – like those used in keyhole surgery. The ‘It’s not brain surgery’ activity in the stage 4 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder can help Guides gain an understanding of how medicine and engineering are linked, by getting them to design and test their own medical tools.

Scientists and engineers can sometimes take inspiration from past inventions to create new ones. Ask Guides and Rangers to grab something from the past and bring it hurtling into the 21st century as they take on the ‘Retro revival’ activity from the stage 5 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder.

Poorly made products come from designs that didn’t have their users in mind. When creating products, engineers go through a design-build-test process, which means they don’t create anything they haven’t thought through and tried out first. Challenge Rangers to design products that perfectly work for their users and get ergonomic to create something great with the ‘It fits like a glove’ activity in the stage 6 pack of the Innovate Skills Builder.

In the stage 6 pack you can also find the ‘Sound it out’ activity, which will help Rangers explore how soundproofing works. They’ll practise how to amplify sound and learn more about acoustic engineering.

If you have already taken on the amazing activities in the Innovate Skills Builder, Rolls-Royce have also created badge booster activities for girls that have earned their Innovate badges at stages 2, 4 or 6. You can download them here:

  • If you have completed stage 2, let girls carry on their big thinking from the ‘I have an idea…’ activity with this badge booster activity.
  • If you have completed stage 4, get girls investigating exciting engineering careers and seeing what positive change they could make in the future with this badge booster activity.
  • If you have completed stage 6, get girls to take some time to reflect and practise putting their best foot forward for their future self with this badge booster activity.