Something breaks up the relationship that little girls have with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). They are typically strong in these subjects but lose interest along the way. I’ve seen it blamed on everything from toys to stereotypes to lack of mentoring programs for girls.
As the mother of an 8-year-old whose favorite subject is math and just wrapped up school science club, this is a topic I’ve paid a lot of attention to lately and am thrilled that there is now an easy way to have amazing STEM activities delivered to your door.
Only 1 in every 1000 girls pursues a STEM career.
President Barack Obama, February 2013“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.”
4 Ways to Keep Girls Interested in STEM
There are actually simple things that we parents can do to help girls excel in STEM subjects and continue an interest in them throughout their lives.
1. Expose them Young
These subjects are around us every day so experts believe that showing kids that STEM is fun at an early age can help correct negative perceptions and encourage girls to embrace the subjects at school. This could be something as simple as visiting a local science museum (the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego is one such excellent example).
2. Encourage Participation in Extracurricular and Community Programs
Keep an eye out for special STEM programs at school and in the community. San Diego has an annual STEM festival where local attractions, businesses, and even police departments showcase how they use science in their work. The Girl Scouts of America also is doing an excellent job of encouraging a shift in thinking when it comes to STEM. As your girl’s troop to work toward a STEM-related badge.
I can also testify that elementary school extracurricular science programs are incredibly fun for boys and girls. We had such a great time coaching four girls through various competitions and building a solar-powered car.
3. Educate at Home
I’m not scientifically inclined so I am on the lookout for things that can keep her interest in science alive. The truth is that we parents have to take charge so in addition to other fun at-home science projects, have a look at this monthly subscription service aimed at young girls that will deliver hands-on science experiments to the front door.
It’s called StemBox and it is a fantastic activity for girls ages 7 – 13 to do on their own or during a play date with friends. Each month features different hands-on science experiments and all of the necessary components to complete a STEM experiment.
Here is what came in our box:
- LED Bulb
- 4 Lemons (we bought these)
- Alligator Clips
- Zinc Nails
- Copper Wire
- Instructions Page
- Green Works Wipes
- Mini Clock
- STEM Sticker
The object was to turn lemons into batteries and the directions were easy enough for my daughter to figure out as creating a circuit is a concept they learned already at school. However, it was super cool to do it with lemons. A mini fruit clock, however, that powers on when stuck in fruit proved to be her favorite addition. She stuck it in bananas, strawberries, apples and more to power it on.
And, we rebuilt the lemon circuit several times. The ultimate goal was to power on a small LED light.
StemBox subscription cost:
- Month to month = $36
- 3 month pre-pay = $28
- 6 month pre-pay = $170
Order a March StemBox and a portion of proceeds will be donated to AAUW, The American Association of University Women to continue their work of empowering women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.
Green Works is the first official sponsor of StemBox and dedicated to helping the next generation of female scientists to discover their natural potential. Years ago, a dedicated, female scientist, Maria Ochomogo, led the team that created the laundry and household cleaners that make-up today’s Green Works line. The Green Works wipes were handy to wipe away lemon juice.
4. Create a Comfortable Environment Where It’s Safe to Fail
This is one of the reasons why I love the idea of performing experiments at home. In real life, experiments fail (I used to work in a biotech lab and saw it every day). And, that’s O.K.! Success with STEM requires a mindset that motivates kids to try again in different ways versus giving up on the task completely.
How do you encourage a love of STEM in your daughter?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Green Works. The opinions and text are all mine.