Statistics state that my fourth grade daughter will lose interest in math and science but I’m doing my best to make sure this won’t hold true for her. As a parent, I constantly feel the challenge of creating well rounded kids during time crunched days where I want to balance activities like sports and music lessons with down time yet provide other enriching opportunities that will stimulate their brains to think creatively about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts they may or may not be learning in the classroom.
I always keep in mind that one day my daughter’s interest in STEM subjects could drop off but do a silent cheer every time she strategizes about how she can tinker with her Pinewood Derby car to make it go faster, asks to watch more Design Squad, fights with her brother over the use of Little Bits, goes outside her comfort zone like she did this weekend to ask middle schoolers about their Future City models on display at the national competition, or comes up with a creative solution to a problem that proves that she won’t be another statistic as a girl who has eschewed STEM in favor of other subjects.
As my friend, Kim Moldofsky (aka The Maker Mom) says, “Engineering has a girl problem.” As a mom of boys involved in robotics, she’s seen how the participant ratio at her son’s robotics tournaments is about 1 girl for every 4 boys. She’s also seen this same ratio at her oldest’s engineering camp and again at their high school Project Lead the Way information night.
But we can change these statistics. We can ensure that engineering won’t have a girl problem in the future.
Girls ARE interested in science and according to LiveScience, there’s lots we can do. In 6 Myths About Girls and Science, LiveScience says that parent and teacher support “has been shown to be crucial to a girl’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math.” How do we do this? LiveScience suggests:
- Making girls aware of the range of science and engineering careers available
- Demonstrating the relevance of these careers to society in order to attract men and women to STEM careers
- Using our influence as parents and teachers to tell kids about coursework they need to pursue for careers in STEM
LiveScience also debunks the myth that tends to say that girls are less interested in science than boys are when they start school by citing studies saying that equal numbers of boys and girls have positive attitudes about science. “A recent study of fourth graders showed that 66 percent of girls and 68 percent of boys reported liking science.”
Whether you’re a parent of girls, boys, or both genders like I am, join me tomorrow- Wednesday, February 19 at 9 pm ET- for #STEMchat where we’ll be talking about getting our kids interested in engineering. #STEMchat is focused on providing helpful resources to parents about engineering since Thursday is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, also known as #GirlDay2014. Even if we’re not confident in our own abilities to teach them STEM subjects, we can’t throw up our hands and give up. Instead, let’s work together and learn kids as we debunk myths for the benefit of our kids.
#STEMchat Twitter Party details:
What: #STEMchat for Engineering Week
When: Tomorrow– Wednesday, February 19 at 9 pm ET
Where: Follow the hashtags #STEMchat #GirlDay2014
Who: Take a look at this fabulous panel!
- @DiscoverEOrg (I featured DiscoverE in a post last week: Discover Engineering Through the Pinewood Derby)
- @ShermanJen, Jen Sherman of @DuPont_News. DuPont is a sponsor of EWeek 2014.
- @IEEEUSA, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a sponsor for EWeek 2014.
- @JonesAmyK, Amy Jones is an engineer with @JohnDeere. When not working on excavators, she is a passionate advocate for #STEM education.
- @TechSavvyMama, Leticia Barr is a former teacher and technology specialist committed to raising tech-savvy kids; she blogs at TechSavvyMama.
- @SaraFHawkins, Sara Hawkins is an attorney, robotics coach and mom to a STEM Girl. She blogs at Saving for Someday.
- @LittleTechGirl, Kris Cain is a digital lifestyle expert and blogger at Little Tech Girl.
- @ScrappinMichele Michele McGraw is a tech lifestyle blogger atScraps of My Geek Life.
- @JusticeFergie Stacey Ferguson is a tech attorney, social media superstar and conference/event planner.
- @Bonggamom, Ana Picazo is an engineer and STEM advocate who blogs at BonggaMom.
- @ThienKim, Thien-Kim Lam is a tech lover who encourages her daughter’s dream of becoming a chemical engineer. She blogs at I’m Not the Nanny.
- Kim Moldofsky, also known as The Maker Mom and founder of STEMchat. You might also follow her at @STEMchat, her default account if she lands in Twitter “jail” for tweeting too much during the hour long chat!
I hope you’ll join me as we discuss opportunities for girls to explore engineering, ways to bring engineering into daily discussions using real world examples, finding mentors and role models, and more on Wednesday night!
I am being compensated as my time as a #STEMchat panelist but was not required to publicize the Twitter party through a post. I just wanted to share this important conversation for the benefit of all parents. Also, huge thanks to the teams who were so gracious during the National Future City competition. It was a pleasure to meet them, especially this all-girl Girl Scout team from Northern California who is pictured at the top of the post with their future city called Veruna.