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This MIT Professor Created A DIY Disco Lamp To Inspire Girls To Study STEM

This MIT Professor Created A DIY Disco Lamp To Inspire Girls To Study STEM
[Animation: courtesy of Jubilite]

The Jubilite is an engineering kit that masquerades as a craft project. Developed by MIT professor Maria Yang, it’s a sneaky way to get girls excited about STEM fields—or help them realize that science, tech, and engineering are everywhere—under the guise of making a sweet party lamp. Most electronic maker kits on the market are aimed at boys, and while girls can certainly enjoy a good drone or robot, a DIY disco lamp is basically a dance party waiting to happen.

Yang also hopes the kit will teach aspiring engineers the importance and joy of making stuff with their hands, in addition to the book learning required to get a job in STEM. “Our students come to us and they’re really good at math, and they’re good verbally,” she told Bostinno in an interview. “But what we see is that a lot of students aren’t prepared to think with their hands.”

To improve those skills, the kit comes with instructions to guide kids through the assembly of the 20 electrical components. When the circuits are connected, kids can get in touch with their Kelly Wearstler or Karim Rashid and decorate the lamp with reusable ornaments, stickers, and dry-erase markers (ideally with a Kidzbop-meets-Studio 54 vibe). The kit, which costs $39.95 for the basic version and $59.95 for the deluxe edition, is aimed at kids age 8 to 12. It’s the sweet spot for sparking an interest in STEM, as most girls’ interest in math and science tends to drop around the 6th and 7th grades.

Yang and her partner Tony Hu have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. They’ve already surpassed their $25,000 goal, proving there is still a growing market for STEM toys, which retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon have already recognized.

ML