This Workshop at MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Instructor Insights pages are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

This Workshop at MIT page provides context for how the workshop materials published on OCW were used at MIT. It is part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Workshop Overview

This page focuses on the Girls Who Build: Make Your Own Wearables Workshop as it was facilitated by Kristen Railey in December 2014.

The Make Your Own Wearables Workshop introduces high school girls to computer science and electrical and mechanical engineering through wearable technology. This one-day workshop, developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, consists of hands-on projects in manufacturing and wearable electronics. These include 3D printing jewelry and laser cutting a purse, as well as programming LEDs to light up when walking. Participants learn the design process, 3D computer modeling, and about machine shop tools, in addition to writing code and building a circuit.

Intended Workshop Outcomes

Workshop Goals for Participants

  • Discover what engineering is
  • Challenge stereotypes about who engineers are and what they do
  • Gain exposure to the design process
  • Explore 3D computer modeling
  • Design a bracelet using SOLIDWORKS
  • Code a FLORA in Arduino for a wearable circuit with pressure sensor and LEDs
  • Tour a rapid prototyping machine shop

Facilitator Insights

I hope educators who facilitate this workshop in the future will come up with more wearable circuit ideas.

—Kristen Railey

In the following pages, Kristen Railey describes various aspects of how she and the volunteers facilitated the Girls Who Build: Make Your Own Wearables Workshop in December 2014.


Workshop Information



Upcoming Workshop Offerings

  • December 2015
  • Spring 2016

The Classroom

  • Girls standing in a circle in a large room with tables pushed to the walls. Girls are not wearing shoes, and several girls are running through the center of the circle in an icebreaker activity.

    Workshop Sessions

    Workshop sessions were held at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The workshop space was large enough to accommodate icebreaker activities. Participants also had access to laptops equipped with the software needed to code in Arduino.

  • Twenty girls stand near a wooden table. Several items printed with a 3D printer lay on the table. A scientist stands behind the table and gestures toward the items.

    Lab Tour

    Participants toured the Tech Innovation Lab as part of the workshop.



There are no grades associated with this workshop.

Participant Information

50 people participated when this workshop was offered in December 2014.

Typical Student Background

In December 2014, participants were girls in grades 9-12. About half of them came to the workshop with previous programming experience. Many of the girls did not have experience with computer-aided design or 3D printing.