2018 American Girl Doll of the Year Explores Space and Science

Contributed by Gina Carter

American Girl has been producing dolls for the past 32 years, but 2018 brought about one of the most exciting ways to bridge girls’ love of science and American Girl with the 2018 American Girl Doll of the Year, Luciana Vega.

2018 American Girl Doll of the Year, Luciana Vega (image source)

Luciana dreams of being the first person on Mars and has all the tools to get herself there, literally and figuratively! Not only does Luciana’s story have inspiring elements, but one of the biggest themes in her stories is learning to be brave enough to fail. Girls learn to take risks, try new things, experiment, and allow themselves to fail before trying again.
The American Girl store in Lynnwood, WA partnered with the National Girls Collaborative Project to offer hands-on science activities at their Luciana Galactic Adventures. They invited the community in to explore science in the store with star charts, raffles, cup stacking challenges, and parachute building. The girls and their families learned about physics and used alternative methods to stack cups into a pyramid without being able to touch the cups. They worked in teams to create solutions from string to rubber bands to ribbons.
When they weren’t solving the pyramid problem, the girls were designing parachutes to help their rover land safely on Mars. Each girl picked out a toy animal that they were in charge of getting to the surface of Mars safely. Many girls created seatbelts and doors to their rovers. After many tests and redesigns, each girl created their own safe parachute design that Luciana could use. This activity was adapted from the Parachute Parade activity by SciGirls. They have many free online STEM hands-on activities to keep exploring.

Parachute challenge Cups Challenge
Testing Parachute Designs Cup Stacking Challenge

The entire event was inspiring for the kids, but also for the adults. It is empowering to know that you are opening up doors for girls and encouraging them to consider trying new things and pushing themselves. Luciana, ultimately, helps girls to see themselves as capable of aspiration, creativity, achievement, and science which is something the National Girls Collaborative Project champions.

Thanks again to American Girl for partnering with us and allowing us to come share in the science fun!