High School College Journey: Bouncy Balls & the World of 3D

During the High School College Journey, sponsored by Texas Instruments, Girl Scouts experienced college life by way of attending classes and living in dorms. Located at the University of Texas at Dallas campus, we popped in on Wednesday to see what our college-bound girls were up to. After lunch, three groups were split into different STEM sessions where they learned about polymers (and how to create their own bouncing balls), how to build their own video game with hands-on programming and the fun of 3D printing!

In the first class, Professor Walker and Chan Groups led girls through a pretty cool experiment involving Borax solution, corn starch and glue. Each of the contents were carefully measured and mixed together in a beaker one by one. After waiting about 10-15 seconds, the milky goo transformed into a hard, rubbery substance that girls then shaped into a bouncing ball. Afterwards, each ball was tested based on how high it could bounce and how far the material used to make it could stretch!

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In another classroom, girls were led into the world of 3D game programming. Split into teams, Girl Scouts followed alongside the instructor using the gaming software, Unity. Piece by piece they put together a room and a few objects to go inside of it, which is a lot harder than it sounds. They also learned about coordinates, customizing their game and the video game industry as a whole. Did you know that Unity is a free web program that’s compatible with Mac and PC? Now she can continue designing games in this cool STEM field at home!

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To round out the afternoon classes, the next stop was 3D printing. When it comes to printing objects in 3D, you can either download them from the Internet or come up with your own creations. Once the printer is ready to go it uses wire-like plastic, melts it then carefully lays it out in thin layers until the product is ready to marvel at! Literally anything you can image can be printed in 3D. Girls got to see firsthand these amazing creations including a T-Rex skull, Mount Rushmore, earrings and the Trefoil! Other than checking out these objects, they also learned that 3D printing is used in the world of medicine through the use of prosthetics, to help doctors study tumors, and even create synthetic skin. However 3D printing can also be used to create fun art, models for architects or even clothing!

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*Special thanks to Texas Instruments, UTD staff and students, and all  GSNETX staff and volunteers for helping to lead our girls to their own unique college journey!*

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