High-tech honor

HOUGHTON – About 40 Girl Scouts from the Copper Country learned more about science and engineering while earning patches at Michigan Technological University Saturday.

The Girl Scouts, who ranged from kindergarten to high school, split off into groups. Daisies pursued their Use Resources Wisely petal, while Juniors studied video game design for a patch launched last year.

Although Boy Scouts have held a similar day locally, this was the first time it’s been done here for the Girl Scouts, said co-organizer Rebecca Gast.

“We wanted them to see women can go into science and math, experience it and know it can be fun.”

Kaitlyn Bunker, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at Michigan Technological University, led Brownies through several activities for their Inventor badge. Girls designed “egg helmets,” and tested them by dropping the swaddled eggs from the balcony of the Dow building.

They learned some basic electrical engineering, lighting up a bulb with a wire and a battery. Taking those principles, they then disassembled a flashlight and supplemented it with a paperclip, pipe cleaners, tape and other items to devise a reading lamp.

Girls also tested paper airplanes, some of which sailed across the room. After a brainstorming session on things they could do to improve their daily routine, they finished by improvising silly walks.

Bunker, a lifetime Girl Scout and a member of Society of Women Engineers, said the day was important for the girls.

“I think letting people, especially girls, know about engineering at a young age is crucial,” she said.

Both the girls and the instructors got something out of the day.

Cece, 8, of Houghton, liked making the egg helmet. (For legal reasons, the Girl Scouts would not allow the release of full names.)

“It was fun because we get to work on crafts, and I like making crafts,” she said.

Robin, 8, of Houghton, said her favorite part was “when we made the light bulbs work.”

“It looked like it wasn’t going to work,” she said. “But we figured how it worked, and it was fun.”