2013 Operation SMART Program

The second annual Girls Inc. Operation SMART Program, built on the foundation of the first session, hosting 14 girls aged 10-14 in various engineering activities from September 14th to November 2nd. Each week the girls explored a new engineering discipline, with sessions taught by female engineers working in industry.

  1.  Intro to Engineering: Engineers as Problem Solvers
  2. Mechanical Engineering: Potential and Kinetic Energy
  3. Chemical & Materials Engineering: Chemical Reactions and Process Flow Diagrams
  4. Mining & Petroleum Engineering: A Glimpse at the Oil Sands
  5. Electrical Engineering: Intro to Circuits
  6. Building & Civil Engineering: Building Stable Structures
  7. Environmental Engineering: Engineering for our World

Week 1: Intro to Engineering

In the first week, girls are introduced to the concept of project management though a newspaper tower activity. Students have to build the tower with just newspaper, then rebuild with newspaper and tape but less time.

Students then applied the engineering design process to design a contraption to protect an egg from being smashed when dropped form a high height.

Week 2: Mechanical Engineering

In the mechanical engineering session, girls learned about conservation of energy and transfer of kinetic energy through hydraulics and built their own hydraulic box.


Girls then learned about changing potential to kinetic energy by making an elastic band powered helicopter and some gravity powered roller-coasters.

Week 3: Chemical & Materials Engineering

In week 3, the girls learned about how different object have different functions and how the material they are made of helps the object perform that function. They did an activity reacting glue with borax and water to make a substance with completely different chemical properties that the reactants.

Finally the girls made their own ice cream, learning how temperature can affect chemical properties and how salt affect melting points.

Week 4: Mining & Petroleum Engineering

In week 4, the girls went to the Oil Sands Discovery Centre where they went on a scavenger hunt around the museum learning about the processes for extracting and upgrading the bitumen from the oil sands. They used this information to draw their own process flow diagrams.

They then were able to participate in a hands on oil sands extraction activity, mining their own oil sands and using hot water extraction.


Week 5: Electrical Engineering

In the electrical engineering sessions, girls learned about the components of a circuit and drew their own circuit diagrams. Girls built their own wind turbines to produce electricity and then converted them into fans.

Finally the girls had an engineering challenge to use circuits to make ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ style shoe pads that light up and make noise when you step.

Week 6: Building & Civil Engineering

In the building and civil engineering session, the girls learned about heat transfer and insulation as they tried to design the best insulator for a cup of hot water.

They then learn about building stable structures when they built newspaper bridges.

Week 7: Environmental Engineering

In the final session, the students learned about using engineering to help the environment. The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association came to speak about the importance of air and water quality. They learned about the affects of air pressure through a cloud in a bottle activity.

The girls then did a activity to recycle paper. They drew process flow diagrams of the process to make paper.

Finally the girls did a water filtration experiment, removing contaminants from dirty water.


Tune in next year for more Operation SMART!

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