February 11, 2023
BRUNSWICK—Ever wondered what the inside of a toaster looks like? Perhaps a hand mixer? Five Girl Scouts from troop 507 worked from the inside out last week, taking apart a wide variety of mechanical objects to explore the inner workings of everyday items whilst gaining hands-on engineering experience. Led by four incredible instructors from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the world’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology, the girls disassembled everything from hair dryers, to printers, keyboards, clocks, and even a bicycle.
“The girls were a little shy about the activity and using the tools at first, but by the time they were done, they learned to love taking things apart and really enjoyed being able to get a little destructive and messy!” Said Terri Ashton, a troop leader for troop 507.
The program, which SWE has put on several times in the past, ran from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Region Ten Technical High School in Brunswick. Guides from the “Take Apart a Toaster” event, were Rhonda, a civil and environmental engineer; Ann, a retired mechanical engineer; Amy, a bridge engineer; and Ann, a marine engineer. Together the guides showed the girls how to safely pull apart various mechanical, electrical, and inanimate objects to explore their inner workings and better understand how they function.
According to Jennifer Birt, another troop leader from troop 507, the girls’ favorite part was having the freedom to smash things without getting in trouble.
“Our girls have some pent-up energy and truly enjoyed being able to take items apart free from repercussions,” said Jennifer.
While the girls took major interest in the sheer number of wires and connections found within objects they use every day, they also discovered some not so favorite inner mechanics.
“They thought the ball bearings on the bikes were gross!” Said Jennifer.
Both troop leaders agreed that the program offered crucial insight into the endless career paths available to women in STEM these days, but the best part was “watching the girls let their guards down as the morning progressed and interact more and more with their engineering mentors.”
This was troop 507’s first time participating in the “Take Apart a Toaster” event, but Terri and Jennifer say the girls had so much fun—it certainly won’t be their last.
Is your Girl Scout troop interested in participating in a similar event? GSME offers a vast selection of activities geared towards STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship. Check out the latest edition of Compass or visit our events page to register for the next program!
See more photos from the program here.