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STEAM Project Lets Middle School Girls Design Wearable Technology

At Sacred Heart Greenwich, art and design are seen as essential vehicles for promoting innovation through creativity. Last spring, knowing that the field of electronic textiles—where art and technology intersect—strongly appeals to middle school girls, teachers asked students in these grade levels to imagine the future of wearable technologies and the concept of “smart” clothing.

Sixth graders learned the basics of electronic circuits and sewing by creating cuff bracelets that incorporated battery powered LED lights. For eighth graders, hands-on projects included designing their own “smart” clothes—gloves with LED-lit fingertips programmed to light up in a sequence, socks that activated light patterns using sensors sewn into the heels, and musical hair bows that sang on the push of a button.

The school is committed to the advancement of an integrated program in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). “Through sewing with conductive thread, incorporating sensors and actuators, and programming embeddable microcontrollers, the girls discovered additional pathways to STEAM fields,” says Kiki Carozza, Middle School Technology Coordinator.

Opportunities for digital design, 3D printing, robotics, engineering, coding, physical computing and electronics abound for girls in the Lower, Middle, and Upper divisions.

This year, students are being asked to think even more deeply about the impact of these technologies. Inspired by their school’s commitment to service and UNICEF’s “Wearables for Good Challenge,” which aims to help women and children across the world, everyone will be encouraged to imagine how wearable technologies can provide solutions to community and world issues.

Does your school do something similar?

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