Gadgets

Here’s an amazing Rube Goldberg contraption — for making girl engineers

There aren’t nearly enough toys that encourage girls to use their brains, solve problems, build things, and — maybe — eventually become engineers.

So GoldieBlox is tackling that problem by creating clever toys for aspiring young makers — the kinds of makers who just happen to be girls.

Its latest promotional video is a great illustration of why that’s such an awesome idea. Three little girls stare, stupefied, as a TV screen blares an obnoxious commercial for girls who want to be princesses, or cover girls, or something else stereotypically useless.

But then they kick off a new song: A version of the Beastie Boys’ classic “Girls” but with updated, girl-friendlier lyrics. And as the song plays, an amazing Rube Goldberg contraption unwinds through the house. Built in part with GoldieBlox toys, the contraption flips switches, rolls ping-pong balls, turns on a faucet, opens a garage door, shoots a ball, and … well, you’ll just have to watch it.

It must be getting some traction, since the video has been watched more than 1.1 million times — and it was just published two days ago.

GoldieBlox launched a little over a year ago, with a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $170,000. The founder, Debbie Sterling, is a Stanford-trained engineer who decided she’d had enough of the ubiquitous gender-stereotyping of children’s toys, and started GoldieBlox to help encourage more girls to become engineers. So far it offers just two main products: GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, and GoldieBlox and the Parade Float. Both combine stories with construction parts that are aimed at teaching girls aged 4-9 spatial relationships as well as specific engineering concepts (belt drives, wheels and axles) that they can use in a wide variety of construction projects. Both kits cost $20, and the company also sells expansion kits with additional parts, as well as some cute T-shirts for the little hackers in your family.

Here’s some background on the adorable inventors (and their adult helpers) behind this video.

More information:

GoldieBlox is a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. Founded 2012 by Debra Sterling, GoldieBlox makes construction toys for girls built from the female perspective. Our mission is to close the gender gap ... read more »

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