This post is sponsored by YouTube Kids
During the week you can find me in a computer lab down on one knee helping students learn to code. Most of my students chose to take my high school level computer class as an 8th grade elective but some, like Leesa, were assigned to the class.
“I didn’t know what this class was,” Leesa told me one day after I had finished helping her troubleshoot an issue with the game she was creating. “I changed middle schools and it was just put on my schedule, but I like it. And I like having you as a teacher.”
Leesa is one of 12 girls in my two computer science classes who inspire me daily. She’s smart, creative, funny, sweet, and likes to tackle the challenges that come with coding before asking me for help. I’m so glad that she was assigned my class as an elective because she wouldn’t have been exposed to computer programming otherwise.
There are more STEM jobs than qualified individuals to fill them across the United States. This is why it’s more important than ever to provide different avenues for our girls to be exposed to STEM concepts.
As a teacher, I like to show the teen girls the many ways computer programming impacts their lives. It’s all about planting the seed of possibility just as I’ve done with my own daughter.
My 16-year-old is a sophomore in a highly selective engineering magnet program. She loves how engineering blends creative thinking and problem solving with her love of math and science.
When parents ask me what I did to inspire my daughter’s love of STEM, I tell them there isn’t one particular thing I did. My husband and I did all kinds of things. We exposed her to all kinds of learning opportunities thinking maybe something might grab her interest and it did. We also let her know there was nothing she couldn’t do!
Must-Watch YouTube Kids STEM Channels & Videos
There’s no reason why our daughters can’t be princesses who play with classic manipulatives such as Tinker Toys, LEGOs, and Lincoln Logs. After all, these are great gender-neutral building toys for future engineers!
Parents can make a point of having her little hands help you in the kitchen. Point out as you mix, that you’re doing a little kitchen chemistry. Also pencil in that a local science or maker fair so your daughter can see what her future in STEM could look like as she gets invaluable hands-on learning that can spark ah-ha moments.
You can also use screen time to expand her horizons by searching for videos that will inspire and teach. YouTube Kids is full of high-quality content and there’s no shortage of science experiments, animated explanations of scientific concepts, and channels by women in STEM fields who are exactly the people we want our girls to look up to. I love how YouTube Kids acts as a playground to empower girls to uncover and develop their unique passions.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I teamed up with YouTube Kids to find the best content to inspire a future generation of STEMinists. I’m thrilled that some of my favorite videos featuring women and girls in STEM has become part of this year’s “She Inspires Me” International Women’s Day playlist.
The playlist features girls rocking it in dance, sports, gaming, gardening, science, coding, engineering, and more. It’s content that inspires girls to pursue their interests and passions and by staying true to themselves, they inspire us to do the same!
If you’re looking for more awesome STEM content for your girls beyond the “She Inspires Me” International Women’s Day playlist, there’s a lot of fantastic content on YouTube Kids. I did a deep dive down the YTK rabbit hole watching videos to compile a list of the best STEM channels that feature smart women mentors for our girls and sorted my favorite must-see videos into STEM categories. Happy watching!
5 STEM Channels to Subscribe to on YouTube Kids
There’s nothing better than girls seeing someone that looks just like them doing something they’re interested in! Here are my 5 favorite STEM channels that feature girls and women who make science, technology, engineering and math cool. Be sure to subscribe to all of these when you’re using the YouTube Kids app or website!
Dianna Cowern, aka Physics Girl, is a science communicator who uploads videos explaining various physical phenomena to the PBS Digital Studios channel Physics Girl. Go with Dianna Inside the World’s Largest Science Experiment or if you’re looking for some hands-on fun, check out Seven Science Experiments with Surface Tension.
The Amoeba Sisters
The Amoeba Sisters are real life sisters whose mission is to demystify science with humor and relevance. One sister is a former high school biology teacher and the other is an illustrator and together, they create biology videos that explain life science through easy to understand explanations and fun animations. If your girl has ever wondered why study biology, the Why Study Biology video addresses that very question. I’m also a big fan of Nature of Science.
This PBS series is geared towards kids ages 8-12 that showcases real tween girls who are putting science and engineering to work in their daily lives. Each of the 30-minute episodes follows a different group of middle school girls whose eagerness to find answers to their questions inspires kids to explore the world around them to discover that science and technology are everywhere.
Design Squad is all about bringing creative ideas to life by dreaming it, building it, and living it. Episodes empower middle school kids to solve real-world problems and understand the impact of engineering in a global context. I love this channel because there is no shortage of interesting topics presented through videos that are less than 10 minutes long. There’s also a wealth of DIY videos to inspire your tweens and teens to be engineers and create at home.
Code.org is a site I use every single day with my 8th graders to teach computer science and I love the diversity of videos on the channel. The topics are diverse (ex: President Obama asks American to learn computer science, What is the Internet?, How to Debug, AI: Impact on Society, Unplugged- What is Computer Science?) as are the people featured in them. My students love individuals who look just like them working at tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and YouTube doing programming like they’re learning in my computer science class.
Videos by STEM Topic
The joy of YouTube Kids is it gets to know our girls and their interests and after a while it will recommend videos it thinks they’ll like. This is a great way for girls to keep watching, learning, and being exposed to different STEM topics.
If your daughter has a specific STEM interest in engineering, space science, computer programming, etc. here is my list of YouTube Kids STEM videos by interest. I searched for content featuring women explaining topics and concepts so our girls could see other females in STEM fields. I’ll be updating this list as I come across great content but as you find videos I should add, leave me a comment so I can add it below!
- Girls in a Tech World: Endless Possibilities of Computer Science
- Unplugged- What is Computer Science?
- Dance Party with Amazon Future Engineers
- Black Girls Code: Kimberly Bryant TEDxKC
- What’s an Engineer?
- The NASA Engineer Making STEM Sing
- The Engineering Process
- Engineering Compilation: Crash Course Kids
- Inspiring the next generation of female engineers
- Solar System 101
- How We Are Going to the Moon
- Meet Astronaut Jeanette Epps
- Astronaut Chris Hadfield and Chef Traci Des Jardins Make a Space Burrito.
- The Best Gift of All: A Box of Moon Soil
- 5 New Discoveries from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe
3D Printing and Disabilities
I have been a volunteer member of the YouTube Kids Parent Panel since 2005. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience.