WISER girls recently showed off their skills at the Regional Science and Engineering fair, continuing a long tradition of taking their STEM education a step outside the classroom. This year, WISER sent 7 incredible projects that scored in the top-five at the county level to the regional fair, including projects in Chemistry, Engineering, Robotics, Applied Technology, and Math.
All of these students impressed the judges and their peers with their creativity, ingenuity, and real-life applications. One of WISER’s projects earned a top-five ranking at the regional level and best of all, WISER earned the distinction of placing in the top 3 schools in Migori County and was named the #1 girls’ school!
We want to give you a special look at two of these ingenious projects, and the budding STEM champions behind them!
Sarah and Sophie, both in their third year at WISER, noticed a tangible need in their community, and their solution earned them high marks among the Mathematics projects at this year’s regional competition. Kenyan national exams require students to be able to plot out and draw regular polygons, but the only way to draw accurate angles for those polygons (beyond one decimal point) would be to graph the polygon using a computer.
“If you had a school with computers, you could draw the polygon accurately,” Sophie says. “But in Muhuru Bay, it’s only WISER.”
That’s where Sophie and Sarah come in. Their project, the Geometer Polygon Constructor, creatively uses a series of tricks with nothing more than basic coordinate geometry to construct any regular polygon without angle measurements. All students need is paper, a compass, and a pencil.
This method has the potential for valuable impact in Muhuru Bay and communities like it. Sophie says, “We are proud of this project because it is a project that we have shown to students in Muhuru Bay [and] they appreciated our method. They told us that our method should be introduced in the syllabus.”
Our other featured project, led by Joyce (who is in her 2nd year) and Lenny (who is in her 3rd), also tackles a real-life challenge that the students have observed in their communities. Their engineering project, the Automatic Flood Monitor, uses bulbs and alarms to alert people in communities near water when there is a risk of flood.
The structure of their project is elegant and creative. The device runs a pipe from a nearby body of water to a secondary basin of water. In this basin, a floating electrolytic tube rises as the body of water rises and the second basin fills. As the tube rises higher, lights on the device turn on in sequence. If the body of water reaches critical levels, an alarm sounds.
Joyce and Lenny structured their project with accessibility in mind. Lenny explains, “We designed the device to cater for people that maybe are visually impaired or hearing impaired—that is why the device has both lights and alarm bells.”
Their hard work showed at a competition where they were among the only girls competing for engineering honors. “There were 24 teams, but there were only 5 teams with a girl,” Lenny says. “We feel proud. You feel unique, you find that many girls have been told they should not be in engineering project.”
But, like all WISER girls, these super-smart students know that they have all the skills they need to succeed, and they are already envisioning future success.
“Our next step is to continue research so that we can prevent soil or the sediment from ever entering the tubes,” Lenny says. “I think with that fix, we can take the project to nationals.”