Monday, July 27

FAIRMONT FIVE: boldly go! … fostering girls’ interest in STEM




There are many fun ways to inspire a girl’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Educational experts have identified the need for more girls to be engaged in STEM related studies especially in the junior high and high school years. Besides developing a stronger sense of scientific inquiry, STEM provides a solid foundation for problem-solving and ingenuity that can apply to all walks of life.

A study of 4th graders showed that 66 percent of girls and 68 percent of boys take an interest in science. However, these numbers change significantly in the teenage years. According to author Susan Gibbs Goetz, an achievement gap between girls and boys appears during these years in science related areas. By the age of seventeen, girls achieve at a notably lower level than boys.

Here are a few creative and fun ideas that will help foster your daughter’s interest in STEM related subjects:

1. Find ways to encourage curiosity—Raise questions about how plants grow, why stars sparkle in the evening sky, how a computer uses data, and what makes an engine work. You do not need to know these answers right off the bat. Seek out the answers together. These and many other questions will go a long way to inspire life-long learning.

2. Activities involving STEM abound around the home from gardening and construction to cooking and plumbing. With parental supervision, the kitchen and the backyard offer perfect settings for exercising the basics of scientific research: predicting, measuring, observing, and analyzing. Offer telescopes, computers, robotic kits, microscopes, and other tools to inspire adventurous exploration filled with fun and excitement! Visit Fairmont’s Pinterest pages for ideas on conducting safe science experiments in the home.

3. Enroll in a hands-on afterschool STEM program—Fairmont offers a variety of robotics, science, and other related programs on all three campuses. Visit the MY FAIRMONT pages for Anaheim Hills, North Tustin, and Historic Anaheim Campuses to learn more about our afterschool programs.

4. Seek out local STEM professionals who would be interested in becoming mentors for girls—Meeting engineers, doctors, computer scientists, professors, pharmacists, and others will inspire dreams and learning paths leading to exciting career opportunities.

5. Encourage your daughter to consider STEM related topics as "interesting" rather than “too hard or complicated”—Take fun, small steps to become more familiar and confident with STEM subjects. Some of history’s greatest discoveries were the result of a big mess or mistake. STEM offers important lessons on persistence by teaching that mistakes are expected along the journey of scientific inquiry.

Visit SciGirls for more ideas for encouraging girls in STEM.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by Yorkregion

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