Our Dark Side Challenge concept keeps spinning off new ideas and concepts. This time, it’s the Model Moms!

It’s not about fashion models.

And just relax – it’s not about being the perfect mother either.

This is about engaging girls in STEM by building models – in wood, metal, plastic, numbers or code… or even trash. And about involving the girls’ primary role model: their mother.

The concept is simply a number of progressions that mothers can explore with their daughters:

  1. building the metal chassis of a rover
  2. assembling the rest of the robot (3D printed parts)
  3. design and 3D print a name tag
  4. adding the electronics parts with the proper wiring
  5. practicing some programming
  6. uploading the program and running the tests
  7. remote controlling the rover in a Dark Side Challenge challenge, where the rover has to explore an unknown terrain without real-time feedback

MWM rover Coquine completed before shipping to Norway.

From then on the world is open and one can:

  1. use the newly acquired coding skills to model interesting problems with differential equations
  2. improve the program of the robot to make it more autonomous
  3. improve the robot itself to make it do a lot of useful stuff, like virtually visiting the grand-parents or hoovering their house
  4. or just make it more likeable and cute :) Hopefully, getting some girls involved will improve that aspect! (and yes, that appears to be a clearly gender-specific trait. And that’s fine.)
  5. … and much much more – including imagining the stories of teacher-astronaut Aė exploring the darkest corners of the solar system with her pupils and their assistant robots…

Aė and the Dark Side Story

Most of the progressions are very easy, and a few of them less so. Some might require explanations from more experienced makers, some might require a 3D printer or other tools such as a multi-meter. The key here is to function as a group, meaning that there always will be help to get.