A sci-fi camp put on by the University of Saskatchewan is hoping to inspire young girls to get involved in the sciences by giving them a taste of what it’s like to be a scientist.

More than 50 Girl Guides participated in the camp. They had to engineer a mining machine using a mini robot and art supplies. After building the machine, they test drove it by seeing how many stones they could move. After a few errors and learning moments, they successfully completed the task.

“It’s fun to create things and that we actually get to use real robots,” said nine-year-old participant Lila Munkholn.

“I wanted to try out and experience some stuff and maybe I’ll become a scientist,” said Girl Guide Keira Stewart.

“I think it’s going to help me learn to, like, become creative and stuff, so if stuff doesn’t go my way I can always improvise.”

That’s exactly the impact the university hopes this camp will have, saying that most young girls typically don’t consider engineering as a possible career path.

“What we hope is that they’ll carry forward and keep them interested as they go forward, because we will be looking at a shortfall in employees in the next 20 to 30 years with those digital skills,” said camp director Maureen Bourke.

“If we can get them young and it’s not scary for them, they can go forward with this.”