Girl Scouts from eastern Massachusetts are honing their engineering skills to make the world a better place with the P&G Gillette Face Shield Challenge! Girls have been designing, constructing, and testing their own personal protective equipment (PPE) prototypes using items found in the home and at craft stores, and following a DIY guide. Girl Scouts shared their creations during a virtual panel with female engineers and scientists from P&G Gillette on August 4.
These panelists developed and donated face shields when hospitals faced a shortage of protective equipment during COVID-19. (In just a few months, P&G Gillette distributed more than 300,000 face shields to Massachusetts healthcare organizations, first responders, emergency response services and nursing homes.)
Sixth grader Emersen and several friends from Troop 71775 in Lexington are among the Girl Scouts who joined the challenge. She shares what it was like to engineer a face shield that was functional and comfortable through trial and error:
“First tried it with a pretzel container plastic,” says Emersen. “I cut it to a good shape, then I rinsed it, and then held it up to a head band. I tested it on things like, how easy it was to see with, wind resistance (my sister blew on it), and how comfy it was. The pretzels container was not clear, everything looked like colorful blobs.”
“…then I tried a plastic bag. I repeated the cutting and testing process. The plastic bag was easy to see out of, but it was very flimsy and flew up in my face when my sister blew on it.”
“The last thing I tested was plastic from the seltzer bottles my parents always drink. It was not flimsy and the easy of all to see out of! So then I glue gunned the head band to the plastic. It was good but not very comfy. It was still in the bottle shape. I put books on the shield to flatten it out. After a few hours, it was comfy and ready for wearing!”
Congratulations to all the budding engineer Girl Scouts who learned how they can use their own creativity to make a difference during a time of crisis. And find more Girl Scouts At Home activities by visiting gsema.org/athome.
“I wanted to participate cause I thought it would be fun to use the engineering process to create something that could help people,” says Emersen. “I learned not to judge a kind of plastic by the color, or way it looks on the outside. Trying a variety of materials is a better way to make your face shield the best it can be.”