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Founders to speak at Bay Area Maker Faire on toys' role in turning girls into makers
SAN FRANCISCO, May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Roominate, a leading creator of building toys for girls, announced the launch of a month-long contest on Instructables.com that aims to encourage families to bond through designing and making together.
The "Family Maker Contest" running today through June 9th, 2014 is focused on fun and easy family projects that inspire project-based learning and will award over $1,000 in prizes for the most impressive creations. Contest entry is simple; participants upload a picture of their project and how-to instructions on the contest page found at www.instructables.com/contest/makerfamily.
"With this Instructables contest, we wanted to engage families in the fun that making things together can bring, especially as school breaks up for the summer," said Alice Brooks, Co-Founder of Roominate. "According to research, during the average summer break, learning loss for American students amounts to one month per year. Toys like Roominate keep kids' brains engaged, developing their deductive reasoning and spatial skills through building and exploring circuits. Furthermore, studies show that getting parents and the family involved amplifies the positive effects linked to summer learning activities."
Believing that the gender gap in STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) careers begins with the low educational value in toys marketed to young girls, Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen launched Roominate with the mission to change that dynamic.
The two met at Stanford's Masters of Engineering program and aligned on a shared childhood experience of having lacked building toys oriented for girls. After they formed the idea for Roominate, their Kickstarter campaign was funded 3X and their wired building systems went on to receive glowing Amazon reviews – 4/5 stars for the Basic set; 4.5/5 for the Deluxe set. With modular pieces, motors and circuits, Roominate allows for endless creations that introduce real engineering concepts. While fitting into the burgeoning category of STEM-focused toys for girls, Roominate takes a unique approach towards open-ended play that research shows is crucial for skill development.
The launch of the Instructables contest kicks off the excitement of Roominate's presence at the 9th Annual Bay Area Maker Faire, being held at the San Mateo Event Center in San Mateo, CA on May 17th - 18th. In association with the family-friendly festival celebrating innovation and DIY culture, Alice and Bettina will participate in a Toys & Making panel at MakerCon at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City, CA on Wednesday May 14th at 2:25 p.m. alongside toy industry executives from MakieLab, Mattel and Modibot. The panel will discuss the opportunities in the toy industry opened up by nu-manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, and will make a case for the importance of Maker oriented toys if the U.S. is to maintain an edge in the future global economy.
Based in Sunnyvale, California, Roominate is inspiring the next generation of women into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) by providing fun hands-on learning for girls 6 years old and up. Founded in 2012 by two female engineers, the award-winning, educator-recommended line of wired building systems for girls inspires creative problem solving and empowers innovative, open-ended play. Every kit contains intuitive electronics and modular building pieces, ensuring that from the Golden Gate Bridge to modernist skyscrapers, each creation is unique. Roominate is the proud recipient of eight awards, including the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum and Parents' Choice Gold. Addressing a core problem of underrepresentation of women in STEM, Roominate aims to increase the less than 15% of women who enter college intending to major in STEM and close the gender gap that starts with the low educational value in toys marketed to young girls.
Acquired by Autodesk in 2011, Instructables.com is an online community for users to explore, share and make, and is home to more than 125k DIY projects and how-to articles on subjects ranging from woodworking, electronics, sewing, recipes, and more. Parent company, Autodesk creates software to help people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone-from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists-uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit instructables.com and autodesk.com.
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