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Science & Technology

I am growing bean sprouts, click on the link below to follow my progress!

 

Bean Experiment
 

The STEM Gap: Girls and Women in STEM 
 

I recently did a research workshop presentation on the topic of girls and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineers and Math) education fields. From my research, I found that women are still underrepresented in these fields and according to the Association of University Women, “Girls and women are systematically tracked away from Science and Math throughout their education, limiting their access, preparation and opportunities to go into these fields as adults” (aauw.org). STEM fields are specifically designed to encourage skills such as problem solving and collaboration which are increasingly important in our ever-changing, technological world. So why are girls still being discouraged from entering these fields in their post-secondary education and careers?

   I started to think back on my experiences in elementary and highschool and the factors that steered me away from an education in STEM. I remember taking career tests in high school in my Careers and Civics class. As a female, many of the attributes and interests I selected were centered around helping people and providing a service to the community. As a result the career choices I got were always teacher, social worker, religious workers, daycare worker, not-for-profit-workers etc. Nothing was related to STEM at all. The test completely failed to acknowledge the roles in STEM where these attributes are needed. I realized how limiting activities such as these are for students. Educators should be exposing students to a wide variety of education and career paths from an early age instead of giving them discouraging, generalized career tests. It was not until teacher’s college that I realized that I was confident and capable in STEM related classes and I was able to escape this idea that I should not participate in a STEM education. 

Following my research, I concluded that in order to close this gap in STEM, educators must expose students to possible career paths in the Sciences to help them envision what their lives would look like if they pursue an education or career in STEM. This exposure to a wide variety of STEM-related fields should start as early as Kindergarten. Educators need to disrupt the typical flow of a school day and start exposing students to real-world, hands-on experiences. In order to make a change, we must also teach girls that they are capable of pursuing a career in any field - we need to break biases and change societal perspectives about girls and women in STEM. 

A great way to begin to accomplish this goal could be to do away with out-dated, generalized career tests. The following hyperlink will bring you to Career Girls which is a career quiz that helps girls find a STEM career path that is relevant to their interests, personality traits and talents. This is a resource I will use in my future classrooms to ensure that all student’s interests are fairly represented and they are being encouraged to pursue any career they dream of. There are also programs such as the Bringing Up Girls in Science (or BUGS project), Girls inc., and STEM for Girls, that work to excite and empower girls with knowledge and confidence in STEM to become future problem solvers and leaders. These are all wonderful resources that I will be sure to incorporate into my future classrooms. By continuing to expose women and girls to the many career paths available in STEM we can work to close the gap.

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Who Has These Feet? By: Laura Hulbert

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Title: Who Has These Feet?

Author: Laura Hulbert 

Illustrator: Erik Brooks 

Publication Information: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), published in 2011 

Purchase Information: Available on Amazon & at Chapters/ Indigo 

 

Curriculum Topics: Grade 2- Understanding Life Systems: Growth and Changes in Animals 

OE 3. demonstrate an understanding that animals grow and change and have distinct characteristics. 

SE 3.2 describe an adaptation as a characteristic body part, shape, or behavior that helps a plant or animal survive in its environment.

This picture book (written by Laura Hulbert, who has been an elementary school educator for 27 years!) is in the format of a guessing game that students play to find out why the feet of tree frogs, and those of eight other animals, are perfectly adapted to their habitats. This book would be a good choice for the grade 2 Science curriculum because during grade 2, the students are still slowly being introduced to the concept of adaptations. The photos and the interactive nature of this book will give students a concrete understanding of why and how certain animals grow and change and have distinct characteristics that help them to survive and adapt to their environment. 


Who Has These Feet? can be classified in both the explanation and narrative / expository genres. I think the book fits into the explanation genre because it describes what animal adaptations are as well as the purpose of various adaptations. While the book has a lot of factual information in it, it is told in a narrative / expository way. The information is explained to the reader through a narrative model - all of the information connects to the animals who are the characters of the story.

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