I was at the Liberty Science Center in Newark, NJ on field trip, watching a science demonstration on the cool things you could do with liquid nitrogen – shrink balloons, freeze balloons, make fog, etc. The science demonstrator called for volunteers – all of the boys raised their hands of course. Behind me, I could hear mother urgiwn her tween girl to get involved – “You’re our science girl,” the mom said, to which the girl promptly replied, “No I’m not – I don’t wear a pocket protector or a pants that are too tight and short.” So I get the pocket protector reference…though I don’t think they sell them anymore, that this girl, who probably thought all the experiments were cool and wanted to volunteer, held back because she didn’t want to be that horror of horrors, a girl geek.
So, young lady, to set your mind at rest, I introduce The Science Babe – proof that you can be way cool and be a girl geek. You can even wear high heels. Check out Dr. Debbie and her fascinating video on the Science of High Heels… and revel in the fact out, girl nerds, that being a science geek doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice anything else…
And don’t forget to get your very own GirlMogul Science is Cool t-shirt. We suggest the new baby doll style.
Good News – Girls really are good in math. A new study refutes the talking Barbie claim that “Math class is hard.” Y showing that there is no gap between girls and boys when it comes to math. In a study funded by the National Science Foundation, It found that while 20 years ago boys scored better on math tests, that is no longer the case – they now perform equally.
The NY Times article “Math Scores show no Gap for Girls” goes on quote the co-author of the study ,Marcia C. Linn of the University of California, Berkeley,. “But people are surprised by these findings, which suggests to me that the stereotypes are still there.”
Girls are still underrepresented in high school physics classes (which require a decent level of math knowledge), as well as the professions, such as engineering that require math. Another author of the study, Janet Hyde, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, said: “The stereotype that boys do better at math is still held widely by teachers and parents.… I still hear anecdotes about guidance counselors steering girls away from engineering, telling them they won’t be able to do the math.”
So what does this mean – don’t assume that just because she’s girl, she can’t do math. And if she doesn’t like math or isn’t doing well, take a look at her classes and her teachers. Is there something going on in the classroom (like a biased teacher) discouraging her from doing well at math. Perhaps this might be an area to get a few enrichment classes – with someone or somewhere that is committed to girls and math, or do start doing some fun math drills at home. Even if she never wants to go onto a calculus, a solid foundation of math will serve her well in any analytic classes, better prepare her for financial freedom (no mortgage broker will snow her. Also, strengthening a math weakness to at least competency will give her more self-confidence in school in general – as well as help maintain her overall GPA.
Check out the I Like Math shirt at GirlMogul.com
Check out this Newsweek article on Nerd Girls. It’s about how girls are embracing the term geek and letting their love of science and technology show. This article features a group of young women at Tufts who are building a solar car. It also provides a social comment on how geekdom is changing and how the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering & Math) are changing as well. It lists out some great resources for getting girls interested in math and science – TechBridge and MAGIC – More Active Girls In Computing.
So check out the nerdettes and don’t forget – get you own GirlMogul Computer Geek T-shirt right here.
I came across this interesting article in the WSJ: Reading, Writing and Engineering about an engineering program that is being taught at the elementary school level. The "…effort is being spurred, in part, by concerns that in math and science, American students are falling behind other countries — particularly such industrial competitors as Japan and South Korea."
The program focuses on getting kids to practice real world theory – making play-doh in a "scientific fashion" as opposed to teaching theory. The article focuses on the corporate sponsorship (or self-interest) aspect of it and says that proponents are awaiting a release of a study this year to assess the impact of teaching engineering using these different methods.
I wonder if the making play-doh really does equate to a higher interest in chemical engineering, or does it just wind up as "The time we got to make play-doh in class."
Any teachers or parents out there who have experience in a hands on science teaching program and the impact,if any, it had on the kids?