Talking STEM with Hillary Clinton

 

Recently I had the amazing honor of joining Secretary Hilary Clinton on-stage at an incredible No Ceilings event in New York.

No Ceilings is an initiative led by Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to inspire and advance the full participation of women and girls. It brings people together from around the world to discuss the status of gender equality, acknowledge the progress we’ve made, and also address the challenges that still remain in achieving equality for women.

A lot of the topics that were discussed – women’s access, representation, and compensation – are obviously near and dear to our hearts here at GoldieBlox. Girls’ lack of participation and interest in STEM has serious implications not only for girls and women, but for the future of innovation. We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers, they just might not know it yet — and we hope we can help show them the way.

Read more about No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project here, and check out the video below (I come on at about the 55:30 mark!).

Thanks for watching!

 

Team Goldie Highlight: Jan

Meet Jan! (and her AWESOME sweater)

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In one sentence, can you sum up what your role is at GoldieBlox?

I make sure that GoldieBlox is financially and operationally efficient so that we can keep on delivering our mission in a sustainable way.

What’s your super power?

My super power is the ability to see the whole playing field from a higher level view. It’s knowing what will happen to a tapestry when you pull one of it’s threads.

Tell me about any hobbies that you have outside of work?

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I invent! I actually invented a device that lets you wash zip lock bags in a dishwasher. I’ve always been a crazily voracious reader. I also knit, ski, sing, play saxophone, write fiction and have recently taken up rowing and playing the ukulele.

What is something about you that most people don’t know?

Something most people don’t know about me is that I raced sled dogs as a child. They were siberian huskies!

Describe a memorable moment in the office.

There have been so many… I guess it is not a specific moment but really every time we unveil products it is exciting to see peoples’ superpowers unleashed and to be sharing a space with so many talented people.

If you could, what advice would you give your past self?

Life is for living and not achieving.

Any New Years resolutions?

No, I just focus on being better today than yesterday!

Boarding the Jet to SpaceX

Meet Trevor!

Meet Trevor, Executive Art Director here at GoldieBlox. In this post, Trevor tells us about his influences as an illustrator and designer, how he came to GoldieBlox, and why he’s passionate about the work he does every day.

I’ve been drawing characters for as long as I can remember, creating a world that I want to live in. In my world, I’ve always worked with women. The first woman who showed me what I was capable of is my mom. My mom is an independent and strong willed woman. She started her own business, she’s a real go getter, and I learned my perseverance from her.

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There was no specific lesson my mom ingrained in me, about who women are or what they can do; I learned by watching how she lived her life. Whether it was my favorite art teacher in high school, or my wife and partner in crime Andrea, I’ve learned the true value of incorporating the female perspective into my work.

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As I started my career I worked at countless agencies and production companies creating all types of content.  In animation, much of my job was creating entertainment for entertainment’s sake. When Andrea and I were offered a contract with GoldieBlox, I had a glimpse of the purpose that my art could serve.  I knew I could have the potential to create something really good at its core, something that changes the way people see girls, and the way girls see themselves.

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You see, there’s one girl who’s had my heart since the moment she was born: My niece, Naomi. I’ve always seen Naomi as capable of accomplishing anything she sets her mind to, but I also know that not everyone sees things that way.  In art school I was surrounded by countless incredible women, many of whom were the best in our class. I may not have always been the most vocal feminist, but I have never questioned the capability of a person based on their gender.

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The world that Andrea and I create at GoldieBlox, it’s both of us. I draw things and Andrea adds to them, Andrea draws things and I give feedback. My vision adds color to one aspect, and her vision adds color to another.  Our partnership is why I believe in what GoldieBlox is doing.  If I say I work at GoldieBlox and talk to girls about it, their ears perk up. When I talk to men, they become aware that the lack of women in engineering is an issue. It takes men and women to make our mission a reality.

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The radical essence of all of this is that we need each other. We all need each other to make great things happen.  I’m lucky to spend each day with the woman I love, bringing to life a world that I believe in.

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My TEDx talk: this one’s for you.

Hey everyone,

Lindsey here; employee #1 at GoldieBlox, Team Mom, Rainmaker. I have something to share with you today.

I had a massive panic attack the day I did my TEDx talk.
The irony there, of course, is that I was talking about believing in yourself. Extolling your own strengths, owning your unsung superpowers. I honestly might have bailed on the whole thing if it weren’t for my kids. Total waste of a sitter if I didn’t go through with it, right? Ha.

I want to share  this talk with you, my dear Goldieverse, because you’ve inspired me to take huge chances and leaps of faith. You’ve shared your hearts, dreams, and, most importantly, your daughters.
You’ve given me countless reasons to keep pushing, and I could never repay you, not in a thousand years.

Please share this with anyone you know who has something bright and beautiful inside of them, just burning to get out. Share it with a woman who doubts her brilliance, and tell her you believe in her.

Share it with someone that’s always believed in you.

Ok, deep breath.
This one’s for you.

(CLICK HERE TO WATCH LINDSEY’S TALK)

Love,
Lindsey

P.S. I want to hear what YOU do. Tell me your superpowers in the comments AFTER you watch the talk. Trust me.

 

Straw Flute!

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Huzzah! Welcome to your ticket to first chair at the fast food
restaurant orchestra! With your new straw flute, you are sure
to razzle, dazzle, or at least mildly annoy those around you.
For the full effect, have 30 first graders make them and
impress their parents at assembly. :)

This project is quick, loud, and yet there is an amazing amount
that you can learn about sound and pitch through these small
instruments. Play, modify, and make some noise!

The details:

 

  • What: A straw flute!
  • Time: ~ 3 minutes
  • Cost of Materials: ~ 2 cents
  • Materials: Straw (medium gage)
  • Tools: Scissors
  • Concepts: Sound, Pitch, Resonance, Wind

 

Step 1: Cut your mouthpiece

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Cut one end of your straw to a point. Start by squeezing one
end together with your fingers, and then cutting two angular
cuts to get a triangle.

After you do this, you can even play it now! Sound will come
from placing the triangle between your teeth, clamping down
a bit, and blowing to make the triangular tip vibrate. It
takes a minute to get right, but once you do, you’re golden!

Step 2: Cut your flute holes

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Let’s give our flute some range! Add flute holes by bending
the straw and cutting small triangular notches. When you
unfold it, you’ll reveal your diamond-shaped flute hole.

You can add a couple, and cover or uncover them with your
fingers to get different tones. Each tone will depend on
where you place them. If you want to check what note
you’re making, you can use this free online tuner here which
uses your computer microphone.

Step 3: You’re done!

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Congratulations! You can do all sorts of modifications so
let’s see what you make!

This is fun for yourself or for a class on sound. Try cutting
the straw to different lengths to see what happens to pitch.
You can also try calculating where the holes should go to make
full chromatic scales.

If you’re interested, this is a resource on the physics behind flutes.

Happy fluting!

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

Bite-sized Boombox

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Have you ever been sitting on the bus, and thought, “Man, I’m looking way too
cool”? Well you can turn all that around with the BoomBiteBox, the sound system
that goes through your teeth!

This is one of my favorite mini-projects, and explores all sort of concepts in
electro-magnetism. The most exciting of which are that motors can work like
speakers and vibrating bones can work like ears. Pretty neat, huh? Let’s make
one!

The details:

  • What: BoomBiteBox!
  • Time: ~ 15 minutes
  • Cost: ~ $2 for supplies
  • Concepts: Sound, Resonance, Electro-Magnetism, AC / DC currents
  • Materials:
    • Two wires
    • Dowel (medium size)
    • Mono 1/8″ Audio Jack
    • DC Motor 1.5-3V
  • Tools:
    • Wire Stripper
    • Soldering Iron + Solder
    • Drill w/ 1/16″ drill bit
  • Additional: Some jams to play through it!

Step 1: Strip the wire ends

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Start with two pieces of wire. They can be any length, but I
chose somewhere around 18″ each. Strip off the plastic coating
of each end, leaving about 1″ of metal exposed on each of the
four ends.

Step 2: Solder one end of each
wire to motor tab

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Take one end of each of the two wires and solder it to either
motor tab. You should have two wires unconnected, each of which
has one end attached to the motor tab. Solder it up!

Step 3: Solder the other two ends
to the audio jack

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Attach the two open ends of the wire and solder them to the
two tabs on the audio jack. Make sure they don’t touch, or
the circuit will cut out.

Step 4: Drill a hole in dowel
and push on to motor

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Before this step, your BoomBiteBox is already capable of
resonating with music. The dowel makes for a great bite plate.

You’ll want to use about a 1/16″ drill bit, and drill out a
tiny hole in the end of your dowel. Push the motor spindle in
to the dowel hole for a tight fit.

Instead of the dowel, you can use all sorts of things! We’ve
used cups, metal rods, paper clips, tables, paper cones, the
works! Find out what’s best.

 

Step 5: Bite for boom and enjoy!

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Look how happy Coby is listening to his BoomBiteBox. Awwww.

There are all sorts of experiments to do from here. You’ll find that

bass makes for better music, and that the volume depends on the

power of the amp that is playing music in to it. Try it on phones,

computers, sound systems, and see the difference. You’ll also find

that plugging your ears makes it work a lot better.

For design, if you’re going to have lots of people try it out like in a

classroom, choose a dowel which is small enough to fit a straw

around. Or have each participant put plastic or a napkin over the

dowel before biting.

With a powerful input, you can have someone plug one ear and

their other ear will function as a speaker so other people can listen

to their ear. Weird, huh? Resonance and hearing are amazing things.

Happy boombiting!

 

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

New Year’s Egg Drop Challenge!

Happy New Years from Team Goldie to you!

Looking back on all the awesomeness from 2014, we cannot wait to see what 2015 brings! But first, we want to ring in the new year right with some … Engineering! A spin off the New Year’s Eve tradition of the ball drop in Times Square, we present to you – the New Year’s Egg Drop Challenge! Get ready for something egg-citing! (Sorry we had to.)

Thanks for a great year and cheers to 2015!

 

Scissor Lift (by craft sticks!)

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Scissor lifts were first built to do an incredible amount of lifting work of large
machines and workers
. However, they can also be used to poke your friends,
so that’s great, too!

This scissor lift is highly mod-able in that you make your scissor lift as short
or long as you want, and make it do strange behaviors depending on your
connectors. Have fun!

The details:

 

  • What: Scissor Lift!
  • Time: About 5 minutes
  • Cost: 25 cents
  • Materials:
    • Craft Sticks
    • Push Pins
    • Glue Sticks
  • Tools:
    • Drill
    • Scissors
  • Concepts: Simple Machines, Mechanical Engineering

 

Step 1: Drill 3 holes in craft sticks

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Make a stack of all your craft sticks, and drill three holes. You’ll want them
close to either end, and one right in the middle. The holes need to be big
enough for the tip of a push pin to get through,so not too big. We used a 1/8″
drill bit for the job.

Step 2: Cut up glue sticks

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Make your glue sticks in to small chunks that the push pins will go in to.
These can be about half an inch long. We used 1.5 glue sticks for the
whole project.

Step 3: Connect your craft sticks together

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Time to connect them all together! Line up your craft sticks as so, and
push the pin through and in to the glue stick on the other side. Some like
to do this with metal brads, but this method is great for full range of
motion with no catches.

Once you get the system of connecting middles and ends, you repeat all
the way up! You can also add in some other connections to make some
strange mechanical behaviors.

Step 4: Go out and grab things!

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Here are my futile attempts to get some coffee, but have fun with it!
You can put all sorts of things on the end to add some humor to it. Signs,
boxing gloves, pom-poms all make great starts!

Happy lifting!

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

Meet the Team Behind Lightning Strikes!

When does lightning strike for you? It happens to all of us in different ways, and at different times.  We here at GoldieBlox wanted to know how the Lightning Strikes music video came together, so we asked our team when lightning strikes for them.  It all started with a concept, and that’s where Megan steps in.  She is our resident storytelling GENIUS!  She came up with the concept behind the music video, and how Goldie’s ideas would all flow from her head onto the page.  After we had the concept, it was up to our animators to Goldie to life.  This is where our amazingly talented Creative Director Andrea comes into the picture.  But we will just let our resident experts Megan and Andrea speak for themselves:

Megan 

meganMy lightning strikes moments come in the quiet. When I slow down, when all the noise goes away, that’s when my mind starts picking up speed… and fast. I can hear what’s going on inside my head. The quieter I get, the more concepts and images and words start clicking in new and unexpected ways. Some of the ideas are pretty strange (hey, weird is wonderful, right?). As long as I stay focused, it’s only a matter of time before the big idea hits.

I actually used my own process of cajoling lightning strikes moments to inspire the way I developed Goldie’s; the way she takes in and transforms the world. Where I see stories, characters, plot lines, Goldie sees the world as one big, beautiful bill of materials. Hers is a whirling, swirling mix of blox, axles, joints…everything she needs to build something new.

 

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Andrea

andreaMy job as an animator, I get to see a lot of my ideas literally come to life. The fact that I can directly see the outcome of my work is one of the most rewarding parts of what I do. What a lot of people don’t know though, is how many tries it takes to get to the ending product. Trust me, it is not magic. When I was asked about my lightning s
trikes moment, I had to think for a while, because I don’t know if I really have that AH-HAH moment. I usually start with an idea I want to explore, like Goldie and lightning strikes, and start going through my head saying, “this would be perfect in this medium”, whether it be a book, action figure or animation.

Lightning strikes for me is more about the process, rather than saying, “I know exactly what I want, and exactly how to get there.” It actually never happens like that. For example, when I am drawing Goldie, I do at least 25 poses. Sometimes she looks crazy, or like she is going to kick you in this one, or maybe that her head is too big (which may just be a quality of Goldie that I need to embrace). No matter what I have drawn or designed, I have never done it in one shot. Lightning strikes for me is when I have thought about what I want, and then I try it and it inevitably doesn’t work. Then I start looking at other influences around me, and power through it. I learn from my mistakes, and trying until I get a product I am happy with. I think this is similar to Goldie in this new animation. Goldie created her first car with Lee, and it didn’t go exactly as planned. She learned from what didn’t work, and then made something amazing. I think this process is similar for most artists, or even for life in general. Nothing turns out perfectly the first time, and then you keep powering through it. Lightning strikes isn’t about the AH-HAH, its when you keep trying and tweaking your initial idea and eventually make it work. That is lightning strikes.

 

There you have it folks.  How does #lightningstrike for you?

Straw Propellor

 

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Ever feel like you’ve wasted your breath on something? Well now every breath you take
is going to spread total wonder and joy with this straw propellor. Also a bit of saliva!
With three straws only you can create this double-spinner of a physics lesson in forces
and air pressure. It takes a bit to get started,but once you get the dynamic, you can
modify to make some pretty wonderful designs.

The details:

  • What: A Straw Propellor!
  • Time: ~ 10 minutes first time, 3 minutes after
  • Cost: ~ 5 cents
  • Materials:
    • 2 large straws
    • 1 skinny straw
    • Tape
  • Tools:
    • Scissors
  • Concepts: Air Pressure, Forces, Newton’s Laws

(Thank you to our propellor model Charlie!)

Step 1: Cut two diamond holes
in the skinny straw

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Start by cutting these two holes spaced apart on the skinny straw. Fold it back,
and cut out a triangular wedge so that when it unfolds, it makes two diamonds.

Keep some distance between the two to, because this is where the large straws will
go and you don’t want them getting tangled with each other.

Step 2: Tape the end of the skinny
straw

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Tape off one end of the skinny straw so that when you blow in to it, air can only
escape out the two holes. Trim off excess tape.

Step 3: Make a through-hole in
a large straw

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Take your first large straw and cut a through-hole by bending it in half, and
making a diagonal cut on both sides of the fold. See the diagram for details and
play around with it. It should come out looking like the photo.

Step 4: Tape both ends of the
large straw

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Tape both ends of the straw closed so that the straw is squeezed flat. When you
look through the through-hole, the flat ends of the straw should be perpendicular
to the ground. This is important for getting them to spin.

So again, hold the straw up to eye level so you can see through the through-hole.
The ends of the straw should be pinched together and taped such that the flat edge
is pointing up and down.

Step 5: Cut notches in ends of big straw

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Now it’s time to cut notches in the end of the big straw. Cut a triangular wedge on

the top-side of the left end of the straw and the bottom-side of the right end of the

straw.

This is so that when air gets pushed out the ends of the straw, with the forces going

in opposite directions, it will cause the straw to spin.

Check out the first diagram for details on this.

Step 6: Thread skinny straw through large straw

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Thread your skinny straw in to the through-hole. I like making a tape stopper around

the skinny straw to keep the the large straw in place while it spins.

 

Step 7: Repeat process for other large straw

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Go through all the steps with the other large straw and then make a tape stopper

so it can spin around the top hole.

 

Step 8: Happy spinning!

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Give it a whirl! It’s not going to spin itself! It may not look like a lot sitting at the

table, but when you spin it, mighty times are had by all.

You can experiment with all sorts of variables including:

 

  • Number of spinning straws
  • Length of straws
  • Size of Holes
  • Orientation of holes

 

Let us know any great designs you come up with!

 

 

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization associated with
GoldieBlox Inc.