Taking STEM by Storm


Taking STEM by Storm


It’s National STEM Day! We’re taking a look back at our time volunteering with Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis, a non-profit organization that’s been in operation since 1969. Their five year-long, STEM-focused program—dubbed Eureka!fosters personal development, college and career readiness, promotes lasting relationships with peers and mentors, and encourages positive risk-taking. When we heard about the impact Girls Inc. was making through this program, we jumped at the chance to be a part of it.


Back in June, DELV teamed up with Girls Inc. to lead a two-day workshop with a group of around 15 eighth grade Eurekan scholars (we love a good design challenge, after all). With the specific goal to showcase the ‘why’ behind the design and the ‘how’ to take something from two to three dimensions, we huddled up internally to think through how we could introduce these ideas in a playful way. After discussing seemingly every possibility, a plan was ultimately developed involving user personas, site plans, and sugar cubes—oh my.


Day one began with introductions: who DELV is, what we do, and a brief lecture about the principles and concepts of design. The girls were then asked if they had experience with architecture and design or any interest in the topic. In most cases, the answer was a simple: “no.” With this in mind, we recognized even more opportunity to set the stage and explain the amount of thoughtfulness and creativity that happens before a shovel ever breaks ground. After the lecture, each camper was given a unique client persona, a program, and drew a number to find out which lot their new parameters needed to fit onto. With scissors in one hand and a glue stick in the other, they cut and pasted two-dimensional versions of their homes in which their clients would reside.

“It was really cool to watch them begin to understand there’s more to design than drawing up plans and making things look pretty. They started to take into consideration their clients’ needs and apply the things that would best fit them. Seeing that ‘click’ was so rewarding.”

– Kelley Miller, Architect / Interior Designer


The following day, after another short lecture, an icebreaker activity, and a recap of the day before, the girls were presented with a new spread of supplies, prompting them to turn their two-dimensional ideas into a three-dimensional reality. Construction paper, pipe cleaners, stickers, markers, and the like were joined together with sugar cubes to build up the walls around the interiors they’d created earlier.

After a couple hours of crafting, each home was set on its plot and a neighborhood began to come to life. Gathering around the community they’d built together, the girls were asked to present their home and why they made the choices they did. And after just a few hours of sharing our passions, what started off as sheepish introductions the day before had turned into a full-blown block party–perhaps even sparking a new generation of designers–and we were so grateful to have a part in it.

Approach is Everything.