Girl Guides and Abley STEM workshop

A great deal has changed since I was a Brownie, the most obvious is that Girl Guide biscuits are no longer sold door to door but instead at Countdown supermarkets. Scratch a little deeper and I was interested to hear that the focus has shifted from teaching traditional female activities such as baking and sewing to wider life skills such as maintaining a car, keeping ourselves healthy and learning about technology.

During the recent school holidays, Chris Morris and I had fun hosting a group of Girl Guides at a STEM workshop, introducing them to Location Intelligence at Westlake Girls’ High School.

Our challenge was to determine how much money would be raised by selling biscuits at Countdown supermarkets around the North Shore. Using Esri’s ArcGIS Online and Census data from Statistics New Zealand, we performed a drive time analysis, then filtered and summarised our data to determine the number of households that would buy biscuits at each of the supermarkets. We then followed good cartographic practices to present our findings in an Esri StoryMap. After a small hiccup connecting to the network, (what’s a STEM workshop, without a tech issue?) it was awesome to see the girls racing through the exercise and asking many questions.

Map showing the locations of Countdown stores on the North Shore

So while my memories as a Brownie will forever be dominated by the neighbours dutifully buying biscuits when I came knocking and pleading with Mum to buy the ones I hadn’t managed to sell, it was awesome to see where Girl Guides are at now and the activities they offer. It was a pleasure to meet such a bright and cool bunch of girls.

group photo, Girl Guides