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Getting girls involved in Science
What are some tips about getting children engaged in lessons? More specifically, how can I get girls involved and build their confidence in Science?
480 Activity Points
While in many STEM classes, I have truly seen the various statistics on how many less girls are in science/ engineering fields than boys. And this needs to change! I believe if we start getting them more interested at a young age then that will guide more girls to appreciate and enjoy science. Having activities that are more enjoyable/ relatable will always help. Also, many girls like pinterest type activities, so taking things from pinterest but then applying it in various ways will truly bring science to another level of interest to these young girls.
330 Activity Points
I agree with what most are saying on here. Making sure you use hands on activities is a big motivator for any student. I would also try putting students into groups with a project "competition" of some type. Boys vs Girls. This will motivate the girls because they love it when they beat boys. Bring into class some examples of great female contributors to science! Good Luck!
4555 Activity Points
I can speak to this as I am a female college student who never had much of an interest in science. It is only now, in one of my senior semesters of college that I am actually realizing that science is so bad and I can find some enjoyment in it. I can attribute this interest to the fact that my professor structures our classes in such a way that we are constantly engaging with our peers and doing 5E, inquiry lesson plans. I believe that by allowing students to follow an investigable question to guide their lesson, they can take ownership of the experience at hand and really immerse themselves into finding the answer to the posed question. In addition, allowing students to follow the CERR Framework (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning and Rebuttal) they are able to have a claim and defend it to their peers through evidence if they think differently. This allows students again, to have ownership over their work and to be able to learn how to speak in educational settings. In short, it's all about letting you students take the wheel of their learning and empowering them on their own to realize what their interests are!
2840 Activity Points
I think this is relative to the grade level you are teaching. I am a kindergarten teacher and I try and get girls involved in science by using aspects that relate to them. I bring in women scientists to speak to the class. If we are doing an animals unit then I ask a woman zoologist to visit our class and talk to the students about her role. Bringing in powerful women from our community is such a great way to get our girl students to understand that science is gender neutral.
415 Activity Points
My advise is to show them other girls or women that are involved in science in an amazing way. Sally Field was someone I learned about that got me very into science when I was younger. There are so many amazing women out there that are doing great things in science. I saw this very inspiring video about little girls that were interested in engineering. It may have been a lego inspired video but I'm sure if you search for an inspiring video about girls in science you will get more than you need.
405 Activity Points
Hands on activities can usually get most kids involved, but if there are a few that are having trouble becoming interested in a topic, try relating it back to one of their other interests.
440 Activity Points
I really believe that female students are seriouslying lacking positive female scientist role models in popular media. They need to made aware that science is not just for boys and that girls can do it just as well and with just as much credibility and passion.
825 Activity Points
Our team in Wiseburn Unified School District has been experimenting with how to effectively teach group communication. What we learned is that our girls are benefiting from the structure--which is an added bonus. Initially, we simply wanted to help students to be more engaged in the work. We wanted to use direct instruction to build specific skills but still allow students to "work through" challenges using the NGSS Engineering Design Process. Turns out the secret is defining roles and then embedding direct instruction in the lessons /time so that all students are held accountable for essential tasks. We are still working to eliminate the free-rides-- students who find ways to avoid the learning process. We are finding that the non-learners are usually lacking confidence but would love to contribute if they had the skills.
Getting_Teams_Role-ing.pdf (0.65 Mb)
Charles "Andy" De Seriere
825 Activity Points
For both boys and girls, I would suggest as much hands-on learning and activities as possible. Let them, in a way, take over their learning and teach themselves through experiments. As for getting girls involved, I would model as much as possible. Make sure your classroom exhibits both boys and girls as scientists. Also, include women scientists in your lessons. Find books about the first women in space or, more specifically, the first African-American woman in space. This can reach out and encourage minorities to become more involved in STEM as well. Setting up an environment that does not favor one gender over the other and holds all students to the same standards is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind. Make sure that all students feel capable of pursuing their dreams in any field.
220 Activity Points
For a subject such as Science, in my experience elementary students love it. In the classrooms that I have observed I've noticed that science is not always frequently taught. So, when it is the students seem to really enjoy it. To make it engaging I believe it is important to include hands on activities for the students as well as providing plenty of visuals for them to see. This way they are able to participate in the lesson rather than just taking notes in a science journal. For girls, I think that as teachers we encourage all of our students to engage in science no matter their gender.
735 Activity Points
There are several ways to get children engaged in science lessons. First of all, with both genders you need to find what builds their interests in science and then create lessons that go along with their interests. If you are choosing something that is of more interest to girls then they will be more willing to learn and try out the experiments and tasks that go along with it. As they get more involved they will be able to grown in their learning and confidence. I would include more hands-on and craft/creating lessons to help bring in the girls interest. Another way to grasp the students interest is to find a good hook, such as a a crazy statistic or experiment that grabs their attention for the following lessons.
595 Activity Points
I wonder if your school can purchase and get involved in the Robotics FLL program? You do not have to be an expert in Robotics. It's a very encouraging type of competition. My first year, I knew absolutely nothing but got a brief overview of FLL Robotics. My team ended up placing 1st in the Robot game. It is a very student-oriented (versus coach and parent) outcome. The team was mostly girls. I encourage you to look into it. It will, however cost about 400 dollars to purchase your first EV3 Robot (350 dollars) and the first registration for the tournament (75 dollars).
360 Activity Points
It's important for girls to have role models. Check with your local university in the engineering department. There are groups of women engineers that want to visit schools and show students what their career is all about and it is targeted at getting girls to choose science and math career paths. Here is another site: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/
If you haven't yet, check out the books Rosie Revere Engineer, Ada Twist Scientist, Violet the Pilot, and I know there are a lot more. You could even incorporate a scientist of the week. Assign students to research each scientist and just give their highlight reel in a 3 minute presentation. (Include male and female scientists.) I just purchased the book; Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. It was around 12 or 13$ on Amazon.
85979 Activity Points
I agree with most everyone else on this post that the way to get students the most engaged in science lessons is to provide hands-on activities. Also I think providing lessons that pertain to what the students are actually interested in and questioning is another great way to get them engaged. The more that you can appeal to their intrinsic desire to learn the better because they will be self-motivated to learn the material and get involved. As for getting girls involved and building up their confidence I think there is many ways to go about it. Girls do not do worse than boys early on but are less encouraged to pursue science classes and careers. I think that by providing constant encouragement and by showing girls other female scientist they may get more involved. Also just making them aware of the discrepancy between boys and girls in the sciences may motivate them. I remember a teacher in middle school told us about girls not pursing the sciences as much as boys and he made each group dispel the notion that girls were not as good as boys in the sciences and that stuck with me all throughout middle and high school. I think girls are encouraged more to pursue other fields but not taught that science is a field that they can also be successful at. In addition, technology has evolved so that if some girls get don't necessarily want to dissect animals or want to "get dirty" they can still participate in science experiments and be successful. Science is a large field and the more that girls are exposed to the many different areas of science the more likely they are to find a field that may interest them.
735 Activity Points
I completely agree with what our fellow teachers have said below. Have you thought of incorporating a read aloud that features girls and boys actively engaged in a science experiment or project? Maybe something like the Magic School bus (Phoebe is a good role model for girls). I don't know of other series that involve girls and science, but I am sure they are out there.
395 Activity Points
I think that one of the most important things that a teacher could do in a situation like this is to act as a model for the students. This is important in both female and male teachers because it is important that they see these adult models enjoying and pursing science. Another important aspect to consider would be your personal attitudes about science and your knowledge of science. If a teacher were to have a more negative attitude of science, students are going to be stand-of-ish toward science. If a teacher were to show excitement toward science and make it a very engaging and accepting experience then students are more likely to enjoy science. I would also say that creating an accepting classroom environment where making mistakes is okay and encouraged is also very important. Making mistakes is a very important part of science. Mistakes are what helps you to understand what went wrong and how you cold change your procedures the next time around. Overall I think teacher attitudes and modeling are what help to engage students and keep them interested in science.
620 Activity Points
Whatever the area of study, only if the person has an interest in the study, we can enhance that. It is not possible to spoon feed the interest in a particular job. However, science is something that explores. Thus, bringing students to science expos, scientific museums may help to enhance their interest. Science fiction series may also help. All the very best.
10 Activity Points
I think it's important to open their eyes to the opportunities that are available for them. As long as you make science more "open" and interesting to the girls, hopefully it should make them more engaged and open to the idea that they can excel and succeed in the field. I think it would be important to hook their attention with lessons/topics they're actually interested in. Hopefully, these girls can go on to fill the STEM fields with their brilliance!
820 Activity Points
Amber, just in case you haven't already stumbled across this for girls:
I agree with many of the post before this. Getting girls involved at a young age will help build their confidence in science. By exposing students to science at a young age, it will build students confidence in the future. I think through inquiry-based learning as well because it allows students to explore on their own and no one is wrong. This will help build girls confidence as well.
1205 Activity Points
As much as I dislike the idea of separating the boys from the girls, I feel like this is a good way of actually getting the girls to do the work. When the students are put into combined groups, I find that the girls sit back while the boys take over. It's not always the case but often times that can happen. Another thing that you could do is assign very specific parts for the students in each group so as to not separate them by gender. In a group activity, assign certain parts each time. Each time you do one, make sure to give everyone fair chance. For example, if it's a group of three and you are doing a measuring activity, one time have a boy be note taker, have a girl measure, etc. This will encourage girls to do the hands-on parts of the activity as well as show girls that they can do it. Often times the lack of confidence in girls comes from not having the opportunities to do the work as well as not being taught to learn from "mistakes". What ends up happening is that if girls mess up once, they feel like they're not smart enough for it. Hope this helps.
1850 Activity Points
Children like hands-on activities. I suggest that always put them in groups. The lessons should be interesting and relate to their own lives. The 5E Model of Instruction is great to keep students engaged.
1240 Activity Points
Try to praise their every effort specifically, encourage them, engage them. Girls enjoy discoveries, as well as boys, so make every science lesson a discovery
1065 Activity Points
I think one of the key things is to start early & capitalize on that early interest as recommended by the new Next Generation Science Standards. Check out some of the resources available to bring this kind of engagement into the classroom: https://www.knowatom.com/resources
20 Activity Points
I often wonder that same thing. Here I work for a company dedicated to STEM and making learning fun and my daughter wants nothing to do with it. It's because she is now in 7th grade and no longer sees herself as a "scientist". In everything that I've read and watched, it is imperative to get girls interested early on. They don't know what they don't know and if we are only making science about reading chapters and taking notes then that is not science at all and they think they don't like it (because who would). They need fun hands on learning where they are in charge of their own learning and investigating. We need to start this in the early years and continue it through out. There is no reason why a science class in middle school can't still be fun. If science is not fun and engaging then we need to look at ways to make it so. Project based learning is powerful.
60 Activity Points
Some tips about getting children engaged in lessons is by incorporating information that will relate to the student. The student will be interested in the lesson by allowing them the opportunity to relate and recognize themselves towards the lesson. Girls can be involved and confident in science by encouraging girls to find the pleasure in science lessons by giving them chances in being involved.
2910 Activity Points
Thank you for posting this post. My campus one year noticed that our data for girls than boys. We created an after-school club that was for girls only that allowed them to be engaged in experiments, learn how careers with female scientists, and allowed them to have success that built self esteem. The next year our girls out preformed the boys!
1455 Activity Points
It is important to make students feel they are in the activity when teachers design some interesting activities to their students. I remember that when I was in elementary school, the most interesting course to me is the literature because the teacher of the literature come up with a great idea to inspire students motivation. He designed a book which concludes all the best writing pieces and us students all want to get more writing pieces of ourselves on the book.
6458 Activity Points
Love all the ideas from this post on getting girls involved in science! I remember not liking science as an elementary student because it was just reading from a science textbook and doing worksheets. I like the idea of using Pinterest and all the hands-on activities you can do to encourage students and show them that science is fun!
190 Activity Points
I think it is important to change the definition of a scientist as they might think of it now. Many children imagine a scientist as an old gray stuffy man surrounded by test tubes and beakers. In order to get kids, especially girls, interested in science it may be helpful to show them scientists that they can relate to. Seeing real scientists may help them to feel more confident and see science as a real career option, and something to look forward to, rather than dread and find themselves disconnected and confused. This link may also provide initiative for girls to feel they belong in science.
190 Activity Points
Hello Amber! My name is Bethany and I am currently a college student studying elementary education. Last semester, I taught a series of science lessons to a small group of second graders. In one of the first lessons we did, we read the book Ada Twist, Scientist. Not only did the students love the read, but the story revolved around a young girl who was an engineer. I believe that, if you get rid of the stereotype that it's a "men's field" right away, you really won't have too much of a problem. Both boys and girls love hands-on activities. Exploring the subject in a hands-on way will automatically heighten the involvement level of your students. Science is fun! I think it is important that we, as teachers, try to always maintain that fun environment while teaching science.
6145 Activity Points
I would think anything in Science would get them involved. As long as it is a hands on activity all children should love it. You should try out Mystery Science! I heard that they have great videos and little experiments to do.
273 Activity Points
This is a great question. I think that the best way to engage your students in a lesson is to make is to use experiential learning. Have students physically do the science! When students actually see themselves do complete something their confidence increases at amazing rates. As far as the girls in your class, I would try to center a lesson around something they are interested in. It could lead them into other interests. Like science! Best of Luck!
20 Activity Points
I think the key to getting students involved is finding something that motivates them and makes them want to learn more. The easiest way to do this is to give students an outline for their learning but let them choose what their subject is. Giving students the power to pick the topic can disguise the fact the learning is even happening. The way this happens in the classroom changes depending on the grade but giving students ownership and power is a key factor. I am a pre-service teacher so I am not an expert on how to teach this but I know from my own education that giving me ownership and allowing me to choose a part of what I am learning drastically improved my performance and drive.
Specifically, to get girls involved I would make sure to talk about and bring into discussion things women scientist have done. Also, the way you talk about science and what interest you about it as the teacher has huge effects on what your students will think. If you get excited about science lessons that will rub off on your students. Helping your students build confidence in the lab only really happens by giving them experience. Training your students so they feel prepared and confident with what they are doing will also help. Finally, verbally/writing things to students you see them doing well can also go a very long ways in building confidence.
20 Activity Points
I think establishing a safe and comfortable environment in the classroom would help all students be themselves and be open to others. Getting the students engaged in lessons would come with hands-on lessons and activities. Also, letting the students have choice in what they do for projects, experiments, etc. This will give them more interests in the activities if they are choosing and allowing for open atmosphere. For girls, I would just encourage them and make them feel just as smart as the boys. Don't let the stereotypes be welcomed into the classroom and just help to support their learning as best as you can. If the girls feel like they can demonstrate their learning, they will be more likely to build on their confidence.
3410 Activity Points
I really like and agree with Amy S's idea of creating some sort of competition between the boys and girls - of course, stressing that it is not "life or death" and it's just for fun. Girls at this age love to prove themselves to other boys, and if they can beat them, it makes them proud and confident. As a result, it could get the girls to look forward to more interactive science activities in the future!
1343 Activity Points
Much like there is a lack of males in education, there's a lack of females in science-related fields. First of all I think it would be important to show them examples of prominent women in science fields who are doing amazing things. This will show your girls that they are equally capable doing great things within science. Another strategy would be to try and modify you lessons to the interests of both your male and female students. I feel like for the most part science is considered a "male subject" so girls aren't as nterested due to this stereotype.
4032 Activity Points
I really love that you posted about the lack of interest in science in girls. I too can relate to this because I always found science kind of annoying and boring. I am taking teaching Elementary Science at Florida International University. While I can't lie and say that science has become my favorite subject, I can definitely say that my professor has made a three hour class enjoyable to the point where time flies by. My professor uses the 5E Inquiry approach for her lessons. I actually participated in the procedures and experiments in the class. This model really helps you stay focused because it provides many steps needed to complete. Not only can this help engage students who are uninterested such as girls, but it serves a great purpose for reaching different types of learners. This can be students who are multi-sensory learners. Specifically as well, I saw a comment about Pinterest for the girls. I think you can incorporate some sort of 5E inquiry lesson plan how making a lipgloss product and even make a station for that. The boys might find this uninteresting so maybe make a station that uses a similar concept to make something boys would enjoy like goo. Both can be incorporated in a 5E Inquiry lesson. And when all else fails, everyone likes to make ice-cream! That can easily be turned into a science experiment.
435 Activity Points
Something that always peaked my interest in science (because I was/am not really a fan) was when the teachers figured out what my interests were and made it relatable in the lessons. I was big into marine biology when I was a kid and we did units on the oceans. Also, making sure the activities were pretty hands-on is important for both males and females.
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I definitely agree with you and appreicate you asking! it is definitely challenge to get them engaged at times and be excited.
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Hi!! I think this is a very important topic to address in today's schooling system. I believe the current light of women in stem is beneficial for young gurls to see so that they feel that it is possible and that they would have role models in that field if they were to take interest in them. I think that a gender binary where men normally assume the role in stem while women are associated with that of the arts is what is at the root of this controversy. I think that as a society, we are making efforts in crushing these presumptions. I think that girls would feel more interested if they felt empowered and saw the possibilities that they could achieve in a role related to STEM. Also, when students see the real life value of a lesson, it intrigues them to find the solution!
20 Activity Points
Thats a great question! I allow students to do "Makerspace Stations" and a great deal of exploratory time in small groups. As a requirement, the students have to use journals to take notes of what they observe. I generally always use a question and ask them to respond by making a claim, citing evidence and reasoning.
Thats a great question! I allow students to do "Makerspace Stations" and a great deal of exploratory time in small groups. As a requirement, the students have to use journals to take notes of what they observe. I generally always use a question and ask them to respond by making a claim, citing evidence and reasoning.
958 Activity Points
Hello Amber, I suggest maybe putting the children to work in groups when doing lessons that require hands on activities. Give all the students a chance to show off their skills and perhaps put girls in the role of the "group leader" from time to time. Also, I think that a lot of students are intimidated by some of the equipment, like a balance. In this case, I would say that you demonstrate how to use it and then ask every student to do the same, giving them the confidence they need to feel better about Science.
2170 Activity Points
This is great! I will try! Thank you
505 Activity Points
I like your advice and will try it with the students in my classroom. Thank you.
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Hello Amber, I think a good way to get children engaged in the science lessons is to help them relate to the lesson. For example, if you are going to be teaching about the seasons, you wouldn't want to focus on the winter's snow too much if they live in an area that doesn't snow. It might sound meaningless to them since they don't experience snow and they might zone out. As for making girls interested in science, I would suggest giving them the same attention that boys get in this subject. For example, call on them to answer just as many question as the boys are called on and let them show off what they know as well. This will encourage them to participate more often.
2465 Activity Points
Thank you! this is great!
I think you can get girls more involved in science by making lessons relevant to them. Create hands-on lessons where students are learning about something they care about. You also want to take the time to build their confidence in the subject with positive feedback during lessons. It is also important to leave any of your own personal feelings, fears, and insecurities about science at the door. Students can easily pick up on your feelings through the way you approach the subject. If you are positive, excited, and confident towards science lessons, than it will help your female students to feel the same way.
420 Activity Points
I think this is a great insight. It is so true that as women, we can be an influence upon our female students in the classroom. Our thoughts and reactions towards science can influence their train of thought as they are developing their interests. If we are excited about science and lead by example, not only will that positive energy engage the whole class and help them get excited, but it could also be a good motivator for girls to stay active in science and pursue knowledge in that content area, maybe eventually leading to a science career.
190 Activity Points
Great point! The way we provide positive feedback is so important. I recently had to reflect on any bias I may have in the classroom, so I recorded my interactions with students. I would absolutely recommend this to practicing teachers. If you can record who you talked to, what about, for how long... after each period, or have an audio or video recording to watch later, you can look for potential bias. We care about all of our students and want the best for them, but sometimes we have biases that we just don't see. I used this to look at for bias toward students of different race, different gender, different participation levels, different personalities (outgoing, shy, respectful, disengaged...), different socioeconomic status... But even just focusing on whether or not we're treating our females and males equally can be very eye opening! I was able to see who I gave more and less attention to and the kind of feedback I gave (empty praise like "good job," constructive criticism, empowering praise...).
150 Activity Points
This is a great message. While it's perplexing that the gender gap still exist in science for girls - I think we may want to step back and look at it from more than just the US. As according to this article on girls in stem programs, the gender gap is also very pronounced in UK and India also.
Is there something we can do across the board to promotion means of reducing this gap for all regions?
55 Activity Points
Here is a post I wrote on my blog about engaging girls in STEM. I think it is really about a few key things:
starting early (when they are young)
breaking down stereotypes (each of your students IS a scientist, scientists aren't only white guys with crazy hair in lab coats)
giving authentic experiences (something related to their interests that is real, hands-on and has an easily understandable real-world context)
find age-appropriate science role models
modeling that anyone can do science
Here is the link: http://www.shareitscience.com/2015/03/science-teaching-toolbox-girl-power.html
You will also find links to other resources for girls in science near the bottom of the post.
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This link is awesome....thank you!!
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Absolutely. Females students need to see what science can look like, as it often doesn't look like a guy pouring chemicals in a lab! Role models and real life application are huge. So many females seem to be attracted to fields that involve helping other humans directly. Well there's tons of the in science, let's show them! I think field trips and guest speakers would help too. Thanks so much for the resource!
You make some great points here. Thank you for sharing the resources!!
Thanks so much for posting this article. So many helpful resources are included! I this students often have misconceptions about what science is, what is looks like in the real-world, and who is capable of being a scientist. The more we provided a variety of relevant learning experiences for students, the more we can empower all types of students in learning science. I think its important for these experiences to be hands-on, inquiry-based, and meaningful to students! We can use student interest and choice to help motivate students to solve real problems. I agree with many other responses that girls, and all children, need enthusiastic role models to demonstrate science skills. Inviting women scientists to visit the classroom is great, but students also feed off their teacher's energy and attitude towards learning. I notice this in my college courses. When professors genuinely excited about the content, and devoted to student learning, students are more likely to be motivated to learn. Modeling in this way is one way to make science more enjoyable and accessible for all.
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Thank you for sharing with us the link! look forward to reading it and taking ideas and advice away.
I agree with a lot of the responses here. I think that a way to get students, especially girls, involved in science is to have hands on activities. Children love to "do" things, so if they are engaged with fun and unique experiments, they will love it. It is also important to make sure they are working in groups. I think it would be helpful to balance out the groups with more advanced children and children that need more help. This allows peer-teaching. Overall, it is important to makes sure science is fun and enjoyable. If you are enjoying science, your students will most likely enjoy it!
180 Activity Points
In order to make girls and boys be interested in science, you just need to make them understand that it is relevant to them. I found that talking with students at different ages about current science issues, makes them want to know more, because they feel that it is not just written in their books, it really happens and has an affect on our lives. You can start with 10 minutes every week / lesson talking about science news, or better ask them to come and share with the class a science news. There are many sources on the internet for that, but you can start with Nasa's FB page or with http://www.timelypick.com/science …
125 Activity Points
I would try to think of topics that would interest girls more and use lots of hands on activities. Personally, I enjoyed more nature based topics that dealt with animals. Girls are more nurturing and are drawn to animal based topics.
190 Activity Points
Like many people have suggested a hands on activity is a great way to encourage all students (including girls) to get involved in science class. Something else I would suggest is to possibly start a class collection. I'm not sure what topic you are currently teaching, but I have found that a class collection (Such as rocks in a geology lesson, or recyclable products for a lesson on recyclables) makes a personal connection between the topic and the student. In my experience the girls love this activity.
I hope this was some help.
1480 Activity Points
There are several great ways to get girls involved in science, as is evidenced by the replies you've already gotten! I am not yet a teacher, but I am studying to become one. In my Methods of Teaching Science course we have actually spoken about this topic. My professor stated the fact that in many science classrooms girls are treated differently than boys. For example, a teacher might say to a girl, "Oh wow, you're doing well," whereas the same teacher might simply say to a boy, "Good job!" This implies that it's surprising that the girl is doing well, because she's a girl, and that it's no surprise that the boy is doing well. Now these comments are not usually done like this on purpose, but they do happen, my instructor says. Therefore, in order to motivate girls I'd let them know that they can be just as good as boys are in regards to science, and wouldn't show any surprise when they do perform well. I'd also make sure to call on all types of kids during class--regardless of gender--and try to include activities that would interest EVERYONE. I hope that this post helps! Have a great day!
1965 Activity Points
Great question! I'm a volunteer science teacher in a small private classroom. As a private school, our school also specifically addresses how different types of people learn. Specifically, we look at 4 types of 'tools of maturity': intellect, feeling, will, and body.
From my experience in this alternative school, I see that it's not so much 'girls' vs. 'boys', but the different types of learners. If the lesson is very intellectually dry, it will appeal to only those learners that are primarily motivated by the intellect. To have a balanced lesson that will work for everyone we need to bring in all 4 aspects: intellect, feeling, will, and body. Science can often tip to the intellect side which may then lose the other learners (boys or girls).
For this age group I think teaching with picture books can capture a variety of learners. The story itself can appeal to a feeling child's ability to connect with the project. Hands on experiments and kinesthetic models or practices can appeal to a body oriented child. The topic itself of the phenomena will definitely hook an intellect child. And the challenge of completing or discovering something new will appeal to the will child.
One practical example that I used last year in an electricity unit: first we made the playdough for squishy circuits and had then explored and experimented with lighting up the LED's. Creating 'creatures' or 'sculptures' got the feeling kids involved in learning a circuit concept by making it fun and creative. As we went along I gave them challenges to create different types of circuits (parallel/series). One child wanted to light up as many bulbs as he could and discovered way more than I had really initially intended. Afterwards we talked about the phenomenon we saw.
Because this lesson included all those types of learning types everyone came away with a great experience, AND they learned a lot too.
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A great way to get students involved in lessons would be to utilize manipulatives.
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A great way to get students involved in lessons would be making sure that the students can use their hands to explore the concept that is being reviewed. Students can use manipulatives to get a concrete understanding of the information that is being taught to students.
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Hi! I feel like children in general will become more engaged and interested in science if they see the "fun" side of it. Speaking about girls in particular, I think it would be interesting to inform them about successful female scientists and their accomplishments, and also tell them about how not all science requires them to get their hands dirty. Good luck!
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I love that you have an interest in this! I've done some research on this topic and have learned that a lot of disinterest from female students come from a variety of things. There are things that a educator can do like refrain from using he pronouns solely when talking about STEM Professionals. Additionally, the confidence and enthusiasm a female teacher shows about Science can go a long way for the students. Elementary school students gain a lot from modeling and their is a tendency for girls to copy girls and boys to boys. I would also have various STEM guest speakers come in (especially some female). I've led events for female engagement in STEM and have found that a lot of girls just need encouragement to persevere through the problem-solving aspects of it. In the events that got to do different technology activities and meet tons of female professionals.
Like the others, there are great activities available on pinterest and such that you could take a look at.
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Relate what they are learning in science to an experience that they have already had or is important to them in real life. Children, and especially the little girls like to hear about something authentically relevant to them.
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One way effective way that I have heard from my science teaching method professor, was to really introduce female scientists whenever the opportunities arise. By introducing women scientists, it directly allows girls to see that there are women in science and potentially inspire them to participate in science or have a career in the field of science.
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Hi Amber and all,
I'm a science writer at Washington State University. I wanted to let you know WSU is now offering free science columns for kids and families through a unique project called Ask Dr.Universe.
Dr. Wendy Sue Universe is a scientist and cat. Kids send her their science questions via her website. Then, Dr. Universe teams up with expert scientists to share an answer in about 500 words. She always wanted to be a scientist since she was a kitten, but some people didn't think she could do it. After all, it's not every day you meet a cat in a lab coat. Now she answers science questions from kids around the world. Our main audience is 8-12 year olds.
You can encourage your students to submit questions to Dr. Universe any time and to read stories from our smart science cat, Wendy Sue. She gets lots of questions, but works hard to answer as many as she can and encourage future scientists.
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Jessica, you made a great point about having the content relate to the student/s. Doing this with young girls will definitely motivate them.
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I agree with what others have said, that one of the best way to get girls more involved with STEM is to show them female role models. However, I don't think this just applies to actual female scientists, but also to an everyday presence in the toys that they play with and the pop culture they're exposed to. There is an increasing number of girl's STEM toys, such as GoldieBlox or this that I came across recently (the link is to scientist dolls). Don't just show them grown up scientists, but make female scientists something that's a routine presence in their lives rather than the exception. Also, maybe highlight all of the female scientists in popular media nowadays. The image of the "mad scientist" as an old white man is fading in pop culture, luckily, and highlighting that shifting perception may help girls to realize that STEM isn't isn't just for boys.
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This is a major concern around the world in trying to interest young girls in STEM. I think that teachers unintentionally treat female students differently because of the gender stereotypes that our society has put on them and on us. We need to be aware of how we treat students. Even if we don't intend to do so, we treat our students differently by their gender and unfortunately, this has a major impact on them. In order to interest girls in activities labeled for "boys only," we need to take a step back from gender stereotypes and realize that gender roles no longer fit in this generation or in this world. Once we, as a whole society, can realize this, both genders will be treated equally and with the same respect.
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I believe that ensuring that the lesson is engaging in general will get the majority of the students actively involved. Whenever lessons are inquiry-based, the students show much more interest. Allowing them to explore, in an authentic way allows them to make that those connections that peak interest.
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Well I think science is much more approachable if you do a variety of activities that targets many different skills, then all students, not just girls, will build up their confidence in science. Also, teaching kids that science is forever changing and that scientists predict (wrong and right) but that is how they find theories that work and do not work. Great way to help kids to build more confidence in making guesses and being engage in science is to ask questions like: what MIGHT happen? what do you think about...? In summary ask questions where there are no wrong answers.
Angeles Rivero Loyola
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Thanks for bringing up this important point in confidence building! A huge part of a lack in confidence for students is the fear of being wrong. As a female science student, I used to dread labs. What I should have experienced as a fun, hands on experience, felt like a test of whether or not I would appear intelligent off the page. Let's use experiments to explore the unknown and satisfy our curiosities!
Amber, based on the information provided by this article, there are many ways that you can interest more girls to science. They have conducted a number of researches and have come to certain conclusions on topics that are more appealing to girls. Take a look! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216083242.htm
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I think this is a great topic. I have always been a girl who loves natural science, particularly paleontology and paleobotany. From about the ages of 14-16, I became much less vocal about my interests and actually began doing poorly in what was once on of my best subjects. I think there is a certain stigmatization applied to women in the sciences. Adolescent girls are incredibly susceptible to thinking that being into science is not feminine and unattractive. Women scientists are out there, but we don't necessarily talk about them that much. Women scientists are not bland women in lab coats. Women scientists are funny, talented, and multi-faceted people and we need to create dialogue about that with students. A great example to bring up is Mayim Bialik. She is such a talented actress, but she also has a PhD in neuroscience. We need to make science feel more accessible to girls.
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Great topic! I believe it is all about making content relatable to girls. What engages them?
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First off, kudos to you for having this concern in the first place. As a college student, I have limited experience working in the classroom, but I have been a student and I am a girl, so from firsthand experience I can tell you what has worked for me and what has not. I had many great science teachers over the years (and some not so great), we always did experiments that were hands-on and very engaging. This is accurate with most of the posts I have read on here. It is all about getting to know your students and what their personal interests are and going from there! Not only will you show them you care, but you will get so much more participation from all of them. I also liked Amy's suggestion about displaying or discussing women in science; this is a wonderful way to show your female students that science isn't strictly for boys. I also believe we all love a little competition, and putting them into gender competitions may be a great motivator. Lastly, just make it fun! If the students enjoy what they are doing (whether boy or girl) and can relate science to positive emotions of fun and engagement, they will grow up loving science! Good luck!
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This is one of my main areas of interest in research. As an undergrad I teach basic computer programming to students aged 2nd grade-5th grade. I have a nice balance of girls and guys in my after school care club. As a female teacher I am able to relate to the girls in the course by continually giving positive feedback. One thing I have done in the classroom is create a set for the students which will appeal to the girl students. The boys are usually ready to do science lessons. I have used various sets that appeal to the girl students to better engage them into the lesson. Giving the students an understanding of how the information being learned in the science lesson can be applied to everyday life is an important factor for engagement in the lesson.
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I think there is totally a misconception when it comes to girls and science. I particularly like Science and the thought of science experiments is really cool. I think that there are great videos like Bill Nye the Science Guy that are really interesting for me. It's just a matter of showing them just how cool Science can be.
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I think that one great way to get girls involved in liking science is to see what are they interested in. For instance, I know that young children were or are still interested in Frozen. You can create fun science activities around the Frozen theme. For instance, learning about snowflakes, winter season and so forth. In addition, Pinterest usually have a lot of fun activities to engage the students into learning a new concept.
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I think it is very hard to accommodate both genders in science. Maybe you could think of more gender neutral activities that both will enjoy. You could maybe even have a boys vs. girl type of competition. This will really encourage the girls to beat the boys and participate.
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This is also a concern of mine. Personally, I remember really liking science as a little kid, and then as I got older, liking it less and less. I think one of the things to do is make sure to come up with projects that are friendly to boys and to girls. Maybe come up with several different options for science projects? It will be a learning experience for me for sure!
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I never really thought about girls being less engaged in science until this semester. I am in a 4th grade class teaching science lessons, and we are doing a unit on airplanes and the forces that act on a plane and affect it's motion. I have had a really difficult time getting some of the girls interested, and I have noticed that they boys are very interested in it, they're always answering questions and asking questions, and I can tell that they are excited about science. I don't know if airplanes is more of a "boy topic" but I have been trying to find ways for the girls to like it more too. I think it is definitely a challenge, but I am looking forward to student teaching and figuring out more activities that are enjoyable to both girls and boys.
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I am also concerned about this. I had never realized the difference in participation/motivation, until I was completing my field experience hours in a third grade classroom. I agree that girls need female role models in science. As I've learned in my Science course this semester, teachers can highlight female scientists by creating research activities. For instance, having students choose a scientist and creating a "Facebook" poster page of the scientist of their choice. Students can learn about female scientist such as Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Sally Ride, etc.
Yes, every student needs motivation, and to motivate students teachers can implement inquiry investigations/activities, where students are excited, engaged, and motivated during the learning process.
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I thought you brought up an interesting point about lower rates of participation among girls in the STEM field. Similar to other posters, I think it is a great idea to bring in female role models. Often times when we speak about people who have made important contributions to science, we often speak about Einstein, Darwin, Galileo, etc. Some students may end up internalizing the message that only men can be successful in science. You can incorporate literacy readings about important females in science such as, Curie, Herschel, and and Goodall.
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Fortunately, I have began to notice that more and more young girls are taking an interest in science. One fourth grade girl that I tutor aspires to be a marine biologist when she grows up! I believe that if educators instill the belief in children that ANYONE can be a scientist, mathematician etc. then young girls will not be afraid to embrace their inner passion for science. It would also be good to expose students to scientist of all races and genders.
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Really interesting topic. Thanks everyone for sharing!
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Well, the best way to get any student interested in a subject is to have them not only engaged in the topic but it needs to be something that is relates to them and their interest. It depends what your topic is. Maybe you could use an End of Class Check to take note of what the students (primarily the girls) are interested in.
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This post is really interesting to me, in my second grade class both the boys and girls seem to equally be engaged in the lessons. Perhaps as they get to upper elementary school this changes? I've only ever had experience with lower level elementary students. Try choosing a topic that could maybe entice the female population a little more, maybe something that involves animals?
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Hands on can be tough when you are working with a class full of students with behavioral issues.
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Some tips for getting children engaged in lessons are to connect what they're learning to real life. This is very important because when students are able to make connections to real life, they have a better understanding of the concept. You also have to make sure that the lesson itself is exciting and interesting to learn. If it happens to be a boring unit, try to incorporate engaging experiments or activities for the students to do. There are many ways to get girls involved with science. One way is when in groups, give a job to every student in the group, have that count as part of their grade- participation. Another way is to use class cards to call on students randomly. But first, always have the students think-pair-share with their partner or group before calling out names with the name cards. This gives the students a chance to hear other ideas, share their thoughts, and learn more. Hope this helps!
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This is a significant concern. I am placed in a 5th grade Science classroom and this issue is very apparent. The boys are ALWAYS excited to start Science and I have noticed the girls are rarely ever excited. However, this is not true for every girl but many of the girls in my placement feel "blah" when it comes to Science. Along with all the other great advice on this thread, I think making the Science content appeal to their interest could be a great way to get the girls motivated. Find out what T.V. shows, movies, and games they enjoy and try to incorporate into a Science lab or lesson.
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I have found that the girls in my classroom are less excited and engaged with science lessons just as you have! I have used Pinterest to help set up more arts and crafts type of activities. For example when teaching students about animal adaptations I had students create an animal that had adaptations to help it survive in its environment. The girls were far more creative than the boys and it was neat to see them using their creativity to learn about science!
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Thank you Amber for posting this. I've learned a lot from all the comments. In my fifth grade placement, I've noticed that my girls are really involved. After talking to a few girls, they said they enjoyed the hands on activity and the freedom to join in on the discussion. I'm constantly calling on both girls and guys throughout a lesson and I make sure to give everyone an opportunity to share. I also try to incorporate various amounts of activities so I can see what engages the class the most. For example, they have done activities outside, they have watched videos, and they have created models. Overall, I believe the girls in my class appreciate the opportunity to be creative and share their thinking out loud or with their partner.
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I think anything hands-on and interactive would be great! Science can be very abstract for both boys and girls at times. Having activities that bring the content to life are great for making these abstract concepts more clear for students. Once there is an understanding of the concepts, students will most likely start to enjoy the lessons.
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I think that this is such an important question. Engage students in science is very important, especially girls. I think it is so important to relate science to their lives, this will help engage them.
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A great resource for girls (or boys really) is GirlStart.org. Here's the link:
Their mission is to encourage girls to explore STEM and consider careers in STEM. Right now, they have a great promotion going on called DeSTEMber - where each day in December they post a new STEM activity. I'm in Austin, Texas. They came to our Science Night and worked with girls and boys on a great aerodynamics challenge.
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I have been working my way through this whole thread and came upon your response to Amber. Thank you so much for sharing this resource. I just did a quick review and it looks wonderful. I look forward to giving it more attention, to see all that I can find there. However, I didn't want to forget my thanks to you.
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Getting girls involved in science can sometimes be difficult. I am guilty of being a girl that never really showed much interest in science. However, when I took Chemistry in high school I LOVED it. Although I loved it mainly because there was math involved, my teacher did fun activities that were impossible to dislike. For example, we made ice-cream. Doing this activity made the subject so much more enjoyable. Also, in addition to activities, games are very fun for both boys and girls. If at the end of a lesson you want to do a review game, you can divide the class boys vs. girls. This can make the girls be more competitive because they want to beat the boys. Dividing the boys and girls will ensure that all of the girls in the group are participating rather than if the groups were mixed the boys would have the opportunity to take over. Keep fun in mind when teaching science if you want involvement, no one can refuse fun!
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I usually have my students in groups of 4 or 5; every week they are assigned a different role. When the girls are the leaders of the team, they become more engaged. They call themselves mini-scientist or teachers.
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I think that science is easy to get students involved with if you make it fun and educational at the same time. To get girls more involved I think it's important to understand that their interests may be different than guys. Think about activities that are good for both genders!
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I myself was always interested in science, more so the science experiments. I feel that in order to get kids interested in science it is important to implement activities and projects that ask that they get out of their chairs and move around. Breaking them out of the monotonous routine of the classroom as well as a change in scenery will also help spark their interest in the activity at hand. As for sparking girls interest in Science, I have found that their lack of interest is mostly due to the stereotype that boys are better at math and science and girls are more suited for reading and writing. While studies have proven that this is not the case, it is important to foster that idea of equality among all subjects in your classroom. it would also help to have assignments that are either gender neutral or can be tailored to accomodate boys and girsl in their own unique ways!
Hope this helped!
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I think these were all really great ideas about how to get girls engaged in science. I think it is important we get all of our students engaged in science.
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After looking at all of these ways to get girls more involved in science, these ways are very good. I have to say that when I was in school, I did not really like science. However, had my teachers tried some of these ways I feel that I might have been more interested in science.
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I teach eighth grade science and STEM for sixth and eighth grade. My 6th grade girls are so much more engaged in class compared with my eighth grade girls. It is such a challenge to foster and maintain an interest in science and engineering with girls. I agree with many of you, working in groups and providing lots of inquiry helps. Also, I have found that homogeneous grouping during labs and STEM projects helps, groups of all girls or all boys. When I have heterogeneous groups, usually one of the boys takes the leadership role. However, homogeneous groupings helps girls develop leadership skills.
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I agree with many of the posts. All students, male or female, will get engaged if they are enthusiastic and motivated about what their doing. I am a student currently, but work full time at a school. From experience I can tell students learn most, and are most engaged) when activities are relate-able to their day-to-day lives. Don't be afraid to get messy. Take students outside. The lessons I remember most from all of my years in school are the ones where I was hands-on learning and that goes for any subject. Best wishes to you!
Maria Estefania Cavalieri
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Check out the Association of Women in Science website, www.awis.org. I recently discovered this website and immediately became a member. They let you know of events happening in your area that support finding ways to get girls involved in STEM activities and careers. Good Luck!
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Luckily my district has purchased FOSS kits and they are awesome to get all students engaged in science. Another science program I discovered recently is Engineering is Elementary. This program includes fictional stories to go along with the engineering activity. The activities are engaging and kids don't even realize they are doing math and science. Maybe your district will help with costs or look into getting a small grant to purchase the kits you need.
I work at an arts school and integrating arts into the curriculum has helped a lot with girls and boys being more involved with the lessons. It is really easy to integrate arts into the science curriculum. The students love seeing their finished art projects and have improved their science grades too!
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I think typically girls do not get involved because they cannot relate or it does not interest them. We have to connect science to girls in a way that they will find interesting.
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I really found this post thread interesting because today as I walked around and saw the science fair display I noticed that many of the projects were made by girls. I think that we need to keep motivating them into pursuing their scientific interests into higher grades.
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I would say that in order to get all children involve in an activity is trying to make it as engaging as possible. Even when the activity may seem boring to you, show lots of energy and excitement when doing it. Get the girls involved as much as possible, make sure to show them that even if they are girls they can do things. Some girls believe that there are things they cannot do, because they have been made to believe that it is for boys. Make them see that science is not just for boys, teach them about female scientist as well. This way they can she that not only boys can be into science.
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I guide the students that how they can pass the exams and how can they get the certification for the latest knowledge this certification exam students click at exam or visit its certification its better for your bright future and will helpful to attain the 300-208 dumps
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I think the best way to get girls engaged in science is to not only show them strong females that hold a title in the science community, but also to connect the lessons to their interest. Another good idea would be to create a science related program for just elementary level girls and encourage their parents to to carry out some of the activities in their home. Here is a link I found that had many different ideas and tips:
I hope this helps you!
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I think that providing engaging activities for your students will be enough to get boys and girls involved. I like the idea of doing a 'boys vs. girls' activity so that the girls will be motivated to do well. I believe that science can really appeal to girls and their creativity we just need to give them opportunities to explore that.
I also really like the idea of showing them strong female role models in sciences fields. You could maybe have a woman in science related profession be a guest speaker. If they do not see women being scientists, it will be hard for them to see themselves as a scientist.
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I think exposure is really important. You could talk about famous women scientists, or even local women who are doing great things for science. You could also try partnering girls with like minded peers to build their confidence in science activities.
I also think finding science activities that appeal to both genders is a good idea. Take what they're interested in and incorporate it into science lessons. If science is interactive and engaging for both genders they'll be eager to join in.
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Girls make excellent scientist! One way that the field of science can "grow" more female scientist is to stop the labeling practice that occurs in science and engineering based courses. Female students should not hear comments that reference her gender. While there is a push toward science and engineering based-fields today, I believe that we will see a real increase when schools increase the amount of time and energy spent on the areas of science and by tying science into other curricula.
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I don't have the answer to your question but I am SO glad that you're taking initiative for science to be inclusive for ALL students. It's frustrating when people, not just teachers, are unconsciously placing females in gender roles. A couple of suggestions, although I'm speaking from no experience in science thus far as a pre-service teacher.
Take a survey and find out what everyone (but focus on the females) are interested in studying and have a lab that connects to your target skill.
Instead of doing boy-girl labs do girl-girl partner labs so that the females don't pass the reigns over to the males.
Positive reinforcement, etc.
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I am a student teacher, so I am learning how to get all students engaged in science lessons. In my opinion, when students, either male or female, learn that science is fun, engaging, and relatable to their actual lives, any student will find it fun and interesting. It is the teacher's responsibility to show all students, regardless of gender, that science is interesting and applicable to their everyday lives.
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I wanted to share my personal obstacles in science. I've been interested in life science since as early as I can remember. The interest was there, but the confidence was not. To build female confidence in science content, I think the following could help:
-Bring in/expose students to female scientists - part of my issue was that I didn't know what careers were available in science. I could only picture someone testing chemicals in a lab. Expose them to females in the field and the variety of careers in science.
-Help students let go of being "right" and getting certain results - Hands on is crucial, but as a female science student, I did not like labs; they brought so much anxiety. I knew that we were supposed to get certain results and then draw certain conclusions and that was scary. I wish I had been encouraged to explore unexpected results with excitement, rather than feel embarrassed or unintelligent because I didn't know if my results were "right." More open ended labs would have been nice as well, student created experiments where students are encouraged to let their curiosity take over, and no one knows the results.
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I think an important part of getting girls into science is to start early and be sure not to reinforce the stereotype that girls are not good in science. Encouraging group work is a step in the right direction. When students work in group, try assigning roles to students within the groups so girls will have a chance to lead and play an important role within the group.
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The way to get girls more involved and more interested in science is by introducing them women in different jobs in the field. Most girls just see men in the science field. That would get girls more involved in science. Also doing activities that make them involved. Showing the girls that science can e used for making nail polish, perfume, make up first getting them interested is key then the teacher can show them different careers in science.
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I agree that female students need to get more involved in science related activities. Showing them that there are female scientists that are successful is a great idea to help. I think that explaining that there are many different aspects of science such as being a veterinarian has science in it is great as well. Being diverse with activities that interest students such as animals would be a great way to interest them.
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This is such an important topic!
As a female myself, i do not recall ever enjoying science very much. I think all students should be encouraged to participate in the class and be given hands on activities. Hands on activities always encourage participation and kind of force the students to delve into science. Once they're completing the activities, they end up enjoying and learning science.
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Hello everybody! I am a girl and I am mining engineer. And, by the way, I really enjoyed to study in national mining university. But, maybe priority for me was to prove to all men that girls not too stupid as somebody thinking about us. As result, I graduated with honors:). I really dont know if it helps in my life, but I think sometimes yes. But, unfortunatly, to work for me as mining engineer deep underground was too hard. I did it just once. And after that I began to hate my work. And change my occupation now... Of course, in science too, but now in more easy way, in philology).
But I wish to everybody to find their own way and to love science of course). This is our life!
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From my experience it seems like science gets overlooked quite often. Students love science in elementary when the activities are very "hands- on". I think if we had more instruction where students can participate, they would become more involved. It is also very important to encourage girls in whatever they like. We need to try and stop the stereotypes of girls not liking/not being good in science.
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Science is a subject that can potentially be very interesting, however, teachers often choose to subject students to a textbook and writing vocabulary words. I feel that students need to see that science is very hands on and activity based. If they are allowed to see that than they will become more interested and motivated to learn. There are different events that encourage girls to study and enjoy science. For example, the University of Houston recently hosted an event called Girls Engineering the Future!, in which they had many different activities and simulations for girls to observe. This event really helped students, girls in particular, get excited about engineering and science.
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There are many ways you can engage children in lessons. You can incorporate engaging activities that correspond to the concept you are teaching your students. In addition, using the outside resources of the school is a great way to get your students engaged. You may also incorporate inquiry lessons that include the 5E's (engage, explore, explain, extend, evaluate). In this way, students will learn the process of their thinking in science, as will you, as a teacher. In terms of getting girls to build their confidence in science, I would give your class opportunities for success. In addition, I would find out what their interests are and tie that into your lessons. I hope this information helps!
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This is a very interesting topic. I say this because i myself am one of those girls that don't really care much for science. This is actually one of my least favorite subjects. Anything nature related and insects is def not my cup of tea. Being that i am entering the education field this mindset must definitely change. I would love to hear the feedback that you get back from this post. Maybe it'll help me out as well lol.
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In order to get girls involved and confident in the topic of science, it's important for teacher to relate the content to things they understand. If we, as teachers can relate the information being given to things girls are interested in, such as dancing or crafts, they may feel more confident in the subject. The girls may not be engaged because many examples may refer to automobiles which could possible not attract the attention of the girls.
How else do you think we could help girls be more confident in the topic of science?
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Some tips to getting children involved in science activities is to make sure that it is hands on. Every child likes to put their hands on anything and if you can make it a learning experience then it is a plus. Children love having fun and science is probably the funnest subject there is. You can create so many things to get the point across without ever losing the attention of the students. As for girls, I believe like any other student, if they aren't learning the way you are teaching then you have to adjust to what they like and base it off something that will really grasp their attention and then slowly change it up once they are all about it.
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The best way to keep your children engaged in learning is to help them to be friends with their subjects. Most of them are afraid of many subjects and feel difficulties to learn. You should help them to learn with simple experiments and demos which will keep them engaged and interested to learn things.
Indian army recruitment
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I think girls sometimes don't feel as interested in science because they don't make connections on how it applies to their lives. I think it is important for girls to make real-life connections to things. I also think it is important to have hands on activities that are fun and relevant to their lives. Students are going to remember doing that fun activity than sitting through lectures all the time. Attached are some websites that might help.
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I really enjoyed reading a lot of the responses here! I've read that as girls get older, their interest in science (and math) begins to drop. I feel like part of the reason, at least remembering my own experiences as a girl in school, has to do with environmental influences. The only female scientist that I distinctly remember learning about in upper elementary and middle school science was Rachel Carson. Rosalind Franklin got a brief mention in high school, but most of what we learned was centered around male scientists, male astronomers, male biologists. It's so important for children to be able to see themselves reflected in what they are learning, and I think making sure girls know that plenty of women have made and continue to make important contributions to science is a definite step in the right direction. I honestly feel like this is part of the reason my own interest in science is lacking--there was nothing appealing to me about it because I never got the vibe that it was a field for women. Everything was so male-oriented, so subconsciously, I must've felt that I wouldn't belong.
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I had seen Katheryne's recent post in my notifications this morning (thank you for keeping this important discussion going Katheryne!) and as I was going through my day I came across this trade book on the NSTA's list of Outstanding trade books:
Magnificent Minds. Pendred E. Noyce. Tumblehome Learning, Inc.
Through photographs, timelines, and artifacts, Noyce brings the narrative stories of 16 truly magnificent women in STEM careers to life in this informational text.
Also I will add my own tip - invite women scientists in to your classroom! Local biotech or engineering companies or graduate students typically have a certain amount of outreach hours they need to do. I had the good fortune to have a female neuroscientist who visited my classes every week for a year as part of a NSF funded outreach program called Socrates. If you are in a rural area or are pressed for time I would recommend showing TED talks. There are scientists from all of the world and country.
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Excited to see this thread getting some new life. I posted quite some time ago with a link to a blog post I wrote concerning girls in science. You can find it here: http://www.shareitscience.com/2015/03/science-teaching-toolbox-girl-power.html
It echos much of what you all are sharing.
Another program to try is "Letters to a Pre-Scientist" which basically is a pen-pal system that brings scientists and classrooms together. You can read about it more here: http://www.shareitscience.com/2016/01/letters-to-pre-scientist-school-program.html It's a great way to introduce professional scientists of both genders to all students.
I think this is such a great question that you are asking. There are most definitely gender stereotypes about science and even math being subjects for boys. Our students are aware of this even at very young ages. I've especially observed it in a second grade classroom when I asked the students what they thought a scientist looked like. They all said male and that he wore a white lab coat. This is what students are seeing in the media and this is what they think. You could break this stereotype by telling everyone in the classroom that they are scientists and having them act the part. Even explicitly discuss the fact that girls can be scientists. Show them pictures and discuss famous scientists that are women - this is another thing that textbooks usually do not point out. Most of the scientists we learn about are men. You could also make science relate to the girls in your classroom. What are their interests and motivations? Get to know your students and you can fit the lessons to their needs. Don't forget to encourage your girls and give them compliments about their science work in order to build their confidence.
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This is a great question to open many's eyes to many stereotypes surrounding schools. Science is a perfect example of this. Often times, science is viewed as a boy's subject or "more in their lane", especially the older students become. Talking about male AND female scientists, encouraging heterogeneous groups in class, and constantly engaging students of both genders is important to stop this way of thinking. Thanks for asking this, reminding us of this issue, and allowing others to give thoughts on how to fix this.
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I just had this wonderful experience with Northrup Grumman and one of the presenters said that girls (and boys) lose interest when a student has a bad experience with math/science or a particular teacher expresses a disinterest in these areas. Getting the students engaged in the activity is key. Girls might not like robots, but could relate to chemical engineering with makeup or nail polish. An chemical engineer was telling us how she worked for Loreal testing colors and mixing compounds to create new colors. It was a fascinating idea to get the girls hooked into the idea of engineering. There are many activities out there for this.
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I enjoy reading about all the ideas and input that has been brought up here. As a month of a young girl who is interested in science and as a future teacher, I feel it is very important to grab your female students interest in STEM. Bring in females into your classrooms that belong in this field, show off the accomplishments of women in science, and encourage your female students, especially those who are already showing interest. Along with trying to gauge some of your lessons towards topics that the girls like, also try to take the overall approach that any student regardless of race, can be a scientist, a cook, an engineer, etc. Incorporate that approach and science into the literature and books you have in the classroom as well.
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I agree that bringing female scientists into the classroom is a great way to show the students the face of science. One activity I do is have the students work on a collage of a scientist or scientists in a particular field. We use magazine cutouts that pertain to the field of study. Last year the topic was genetics. We included Watson, Crick, and Gregor Mendel, but we featured Rosalind Franklin. The students write about the collage and the scientist(s) in the collage, and we display the framed piece in the hallway outside our room.
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I like everyone's ideas on bringing in female scientists or even just talking about women who have contributed to the sciences. Girls will be more interested in it if they see that other females have accomplished great things in this field. Science and Math are always seemingly male dominated, whereas girls dominate the language arts. We need to show children that they do not have to follow the stereotypes and can be interested in anything and everything.
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I am in my senior year at the University of Arkansas and that is one thing we have discussed in a few of my classes. I believe this is one thing that needs to change, and it begins in the younger grades! I believe that beginning in the elementary grades, we need to make girls feel confident in science and math. We need to make them feel empowered instead of bringing them down(which I think teachers do sometimes without even realizing it). I believe that is the most important key factor; to start in the elementary grades. If they feel confident at a young age and it continues, they will stay confident!
What are ways that parents could help get their girls involved in STEM?