G-Force Robotics, an all girl robotics team, recently came to Glendale-Kenly Elementary to show third, fourth, and fifth grade students the robot that they built, named Electra.
Helen Rouse, a 3rd grader at Glendale-Kenly Elementary, was amazed at the size of Electra. She thought all it was going to do was just drive around, but when the team members explained how it could shoot a ball, she was sold.
Even more amazing for Rouse was the fact that only girls built Electra. Before entering the auditorium for the demonstration, she thought boys would be telling her about the robot.
“I never thought girls could build it,” she said. “I was so surprised!” Rouse is now inspired to build a robot of her own. Her brother already has Legos, and builds small robots that fit into a pocket, so she has a head start.
G-Force was founded by three high school girls who were on a community middle school robotics team together. They wanted to be able to develop their skills in engineering and business on a team that focused on robotics, and left the social pressures of regular high school at the door.
They knew other girls in the area wanted this too. They formed G-Force Robotics in April 2022, and had a full team roster with girls from eight different schools by June 2022.
The Johnston County based all girls robotics team is comprised of JCPS students from Clayton High, Corinth-Holders High, Johnston County Early College, private schools, and homeschool academies.
Sloan Mann, is one of the founding members, and a ninth grade student at Clayton High. Mann has been a part of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) for five years.
She knows that for some students, seeing the robot and then thinking about having to build something similar in just eight weeks, can be intimidating, but Mann stands firm that anyone can do it. “I hope they’re inspired, I hope they’re encouraged, and I hope it pushes them to do something in STEM,” she said.
The goal of G-Force is to provide young women with a safe space to explore their talents, creativity and interests, while learning hands-on skills to design industrial-sized robots for global competition.
G-Force Robotics is a rookie FIRST Robotics competition team that includes young women, grades 9-12, their coaches, and mentors. Currently, there are nine team members, and they are passionate about building robots.
Electra, which was inspired by Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Model 10 Electra, and the team have been busy going around the community to teach others about robotics. They also talk about what it means to be a girl in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, otherwise known as STEM.
As part of their community outreach, G-Force has a program called Be That Engineer. The team buys books about girls in STEM, and have female engineers from large corporations sign and leave encouraging notes on the inside of each book. Some of the corporations are Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, and NASA, just to name a few. Glendale-Kenly Elementary is the fourth school in JCPS where G-Force has donated a book.
The team donated the book Ellie Engineer to Glendale-Kenly Elementary. Ellie is an engineer with a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt. She invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything.
Glendale-Kenly Assistant Principal Tamara Brock organized the event. She was exploring different ways that could build different learning opportunities within the school day for the students, and found out about G-Force.
“It was very important to have this team visit Glendale-Kenly Elementary,” said Brock, “because we wanted to give our students and teachers the opportunity to see that there are so many different, innovative ways that we can expose our students to learning.”
Brock had G-Force come to the school to show the children connections between science and STEM, and give them something in which to aspire. The other goal was to show girls, in particular, that they can do anything they set their minds to.
Shannon Mann, is the head coach and president of Johnston County STEM Girls Initiative 501c3. She is a former FIRST Lego League coach and judge, and FIRST Robotics Competition mentor.
Mann is also a public affairs officer for the Department of Defense Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator. Mann has served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for 32 years, and holds degrees in communications and marketing.
She said they want to expand the outreach to include all of Johnston County. Additionally, the coaches and members are working on getting the program on the national level.
On March 11-12, Clayton High School will host a state robotics competition, where 33 teams from across the state will descend upon Johnston County. It is the first time Johnston County has hosted a tournament in 20 years.
Principal Kelly Holland knew this would be a great opportunity for the children to see science in a different way. She especially loved the fact that G-Force would come to the school, bring the girls who actually built the robot, and show them what it could do.
During the presentation, one G-Force team member shared that she is aspiring to develop video games. Holland said, “I saw the kid’s faces light up.”
PHOTO1: Clayton High 9th grader and a founding member of G-Force Robotics, Sloan Mann, shares her experience building a robot to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students at Glendale-Kenly Elementary.
PHOTO2: G-Force Robotics, an all girls robotics team, visited Glendale-Kenly Elementary recently to show students the robot they built, named Electra. Their goal is to inspire kids, especially girls, to pursue science and math.
PHOTO3: Craig Danby shows off his robot, Slammo!, to students at Glendale-Kenly Elementary. Danby has appeared on Discovery Channel’s Battlebots, and is one of the G-Force Robotics mentors.
PHOTO4: Third, fourth, and fifth graders at Glendale-Kenly Elementary got a chance to check out Electra, the robot built by G-Force Robotics. G-Force is an all girls robotics team based in Johnston County, and is composed of several JCPS students.