Many girls find STEM subjects interesting through elementary and middle school, but by high school their interest wanes. As a STEM teacher, you can help change this trend by getting them engaged in the lessons and showing how females can thrive in this male-dominated field.
Using manipulatives in the classroom helps take complex subjects and make them feel more real for students. For example, using a solar cell and a motor to show how energy conversion works, and then comparing the process to photosynthesis gives students a concrete example of a scientific phenomenon their eyes can’t see.
Other examples of educational STEM toys include K’NEX building sets, electronic project kits, inventor kits, LEGO, and much more. Depending on the age and skill level of your students, you may wish to opt for something engineering-based like construction, or something more difficult like soldering and electronics.
Showcase Female STEM Leaders
Showing girls video clips of famous women sharing their perspectives on coding gives them a sense of the possibilities. Follow this up with a beginner’s coding lesson to spark an early interest in the field. STEM kits are a great way to get started with the basics without having to spend a fortune.
You can also bring the lesson closer to home by inviting local speakers from STEM fields to visit your classroom and share their experiences. Add some variety and involve college students, teachers, science museum leaders, city workers, and other STEM professionals in your area. When girls see someone like them working in the STEM field, they’re more likely to believe they can succeed in that area as well.
Get a Historical Perspective
Women have been succeeding in the STEM world for centuries, but their work is often overshadowed or plagiarized by men. Showing girls the contributions of women who went before them gives them confidence to participate in this otherwise patriarchal field.
A great way to get young girls interested in STEM is to help them find a successful historical female that they connect with. Assign projects that engage students in learning more about the early paleontology and genetics discoveries from Mary Anning or Nettie Stevens. For something more contemporary, look towards the turn of the 20th century to see the medical contributions of Alice Ball and Dorothy Hodgkin. Or, stick with more recent history and see how Annie Easley, Sau Lan Wu, and Mae Jemison have influenced modern space travel and physics.
Technology Products that Engage Girls in STEM
Bringing complex STEM topics into a student’s real world experience can help them develop a deeper, longer-lasting connection with the material. Showing them how other people just like them have succeeded inspires them to explore and innovate. A comprehensive collection of technology supplies, kits, and other STEM products for schools is a must for engaging girls in STEM education.