Education Technology

Girl Scouts + Texas Instruments = A Winning Equation

Posted 03/19/2021 by Michelle Grooms, TI Educational Technology Consultant (@Mlg5791)

As a proud Girl Scout troop leader in Columbus, Ohio, I spend many hours on my council’s (Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland) website, reading the MyGS magazine and searching Google and Pinterest for programming ideas I can bring back to my troop. In my day job, I consult with schools and districts, mostly in the Midwest, on how to effectively use Texas Instruments (TI) technology to help students achieve in math and science. The girls in my troop really enjoy the STEM and coding activities, which got me thinking recently, “How can I combine my work experience with my passion for Girl Scouts?”

Break the Ice
This is my Girl Scout troop, Dublin Troop 408, on a zip line adventure in Columbus, Ohio. Every other month we try and take a field trip together as a troop.

I asked my manager if it would be possible for Educational Technology Consultants (ETC), like me, to lend calculators and other TI technology to Girl Scout troops and help inspire girls in STEM and, more specifically, coding. The answer was a resounding, “yes!” In fact, after consulting with a few of my colleagues, we decided not only to lend our technology but also our exper“TI”se. Get it? So now, troop leaders and Council Program Managers can contact their local ETC to schedule a STEM experience for their girls. We can deliver customized content based on the age of your Girl Scouts and program goals.

When I spoke with Laurie Wirt, Membership Manager at Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, about the importance of STEM in their programming, she said, “At Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, girls are exposed to areas of STEM education that they might not experience in other places. When girls experience science and technology in a hands-on, minds-on way, they can build confidence in a field that may otherwise be a little intimidating.”

Break the Ice
TI Education Technology president, Peter Balyta, helps teach a Girl Scout how to drive a robot alongside Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO, Jennifer Bartkowski.

Troops interested in expanding their STEM programming in new ways will be assigned an Educational Technology Consultant that can brainstorm with them on ways to achieve a badge, help them complete a badge already in progress, or simply create a fun, engaging STEM event, like our STEM Squad. We will do our best to support requests large and small.

For example, this April, my colleague, Beth Smith, will help Girl Scouts of West Central Florida earn their Coding Basics badge by exploring how memes are created. Girls will then use the TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculator to learn the basics of the Python programming language to create a meme and light show that they can then share with others. It’s very cool!

Ideally, we ask for about 45 days’ notice to plan an event like this. So, if you are interested in setting up something for your troop, please fill out this form and send us your information early. We already have a few other Girl Scouts events on our calendar and are looking forward to scheduling more.

About the author: Michelle Grooms is an Educational Technology Consultant for Texas Instruments. She has been a Girl Scout troop leader for six years in Dublin, Ohio, where she leads a troop of Cadettes which includes her daughter. She is married with two children and enjoys spending time with her family exploring local parks, watching the kids in their various sports and events and volunteering at her kids’ school. Grooms can be found streaming a ridiculous amount of TV series and movies, vacationing yearly with her high school girl friends, playing video games like a teenager, tracking down live music on a warm summer day and using sarcasm abundantly. You can follow her on Twitter @Mlg5791.