GoldieBlox: Move over princess toys, there's engineering to be done!

GoldieBlox: Move over princess toys, there’s engineering to be done!

January 18, 2013  |  Products

Bob, the builder has some competition on the block now. Meet Goldie Blox. She’s the main character in a toy set designed to help girls get excited about engineering at a young age. Initially a Kickstarter project launched by founder Debbie Sterling, the campaign exploded and raised $285,881 with a goal of $150,000.

GoldieBlox is an extension of Sterling’s own experiences working as an Stanford-educated engineer in a male-dominated field. She saw an opportunity for change, and with an abundance of creativity, has launched a social venture targeted at addressing a specific issue close to her heart. GoldieBlox could not have come at a better time.

THE PRODUCT

The GoldieBlox toy set is based a story that unfolds as the reader is taught to build different devices that helps the story progress. In its first book “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine” (available as a book or iOS app), Goldie needs to build a spinning machine for her dog. The machine is actually built by the reader using a kit that includes plastic elements, character figurines, and a ribbon, which are used to construct a wheel spinning on an axle.

As the story progresses, the engineering tasks get more complicated and the reader has to incorporate more characters and contraptions into the project. Sterling says that as girls get further into the story, they don’t just start play-acting with the characters (which is what she initially suspected would happen), but instead, they really want to keep building and further the construction element of the toy.1

Here’s a video showing GoldieBlox in action:

GoldieBlox has all the elements of a great toy, but it also addresses a major issues in girls’ education today.

THE CAUSE

Many of use know that there are few women in the engineering fields. We can look at our social circles and co-workers and find it perplexing that there aren’t more women graduating and working in engineering. However, we don’t truly know just how far we’ve fallen when it comes to educating and inspiring our girls to become the engineer of tomorrow.

Here are some stark facts about the state of female engineers:

1
While the number of male engineering graduates rose by 11%$ from 2004 to 2009, the number of female engineering graduates fell by 5.2% 2
2
In 2009, the percentage of undergraduate degrees form engineering schools that went to women was at 17.8%, which is a 15-year low.3
3
Only 11 percent of computer engineers and electrical engineers are women.4

The question then becomes why? The American Association of University Women (AAUW) tried to answer that question in a 2010 report on women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics appropriately titled, “Why So Few?” They found that while there are multiple reasons for the discrepancy between the number of male and female engineers, one of the main factors is the environment that the girls are brought up in. The report states that when teachers and parents tell girls that their intelligence can expand with experience and learning, girls do better on math tests are are more likely to say they want to continue to study math in the future.

The research found that one of the largest gender differences was in spatial skills, which are critical for the engineering and science fields.

In addition, the research found that one of the largest gender differences was in spatial skills, which are critical for the engineering and science fields. If girls grow up in an environment that enhances their success in science and math with spatial skills training, they are more likely to develop their skills as well as their confidence and consider a future in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) field.

So the goal is to excite girls about engineering at a young age while helping them practice their spatial skills? GoldieBlox can help with that!

We love that the product directly addresses the issue they are trying to face in a creative and economically sustainable manner. This isn’t your everyday cause-based product. This is a product that is directly part of the solution itself. GoldieBlox could be the first in a long line of engineering and science related toys that directly target girls and we find that amazing.

GoldieBlox are expected to be delivered in April 2013 and is currently in the production run phase of its development.

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