Pique Their Interest
A Microsoft survey found that even though girls in Europe were interested in STEM subjects around age 11, their interests waned around age 15. With this information, we can understand that girls tend to lose interest in anything related to STEM throughout middle school. So, in high school, they no longer enjoy it.
One way to keep them interested throughout middle school is to consistently talk about everything STEM-related in class.
- Whether it’s new technology or the latest scientific breakthrough, girls love to hear how STEM constantly changes with new innovations.
- By mentioning the incredible possibilities the STEM field offers, there’s a greater chance that girls will feel excited about STEM. This leads to a continued desire to learn and explore those topics.
Expose Young Girls to STEM
A main reason girls choose not to explore STEM is that they’ve never actually understood the numerous career paths and opportunities available to them. Correcting the negative perceptions girls develop young ages can lead them to embrace STEM subjects rather than avoid them.
To solve this problem, administrators and educators must create environments that are inviting to females.
- For example, use some class time to talk about different kinds of engineering.
- Explain what each type entails.
- Then, students can check out those fields. Students with talent and genuine interest in that STEM field will be able to develop their interests.
Support Learning Opportunities in the Community
There are many organizations out there that are looking to emphasize introducing girls to STEM. There’s been a special focus on motivating young girls to explore traditionally male dominated fields! Encouraging middle schoolers to check out those organizations and become familiar with them will impact their futures.
Companies and organizations also offer various summer programs/internships, providing a chance for girls to discover the many opportunities awaiting them in STEM. Many firms also now offer job shadowing programs or career days. Job shadowing allows those interested in a specific field to follow an individual already working in that field for a day or a given amount of time.
Create Engaging Lessons
One of the best places to pique or develop someone’s interest in STEM education is in a classroom setting.
- Having plenty of hands-on and technology-based lessons offers girls opportunities to see how science can relate to their world.
- Integrating science, technology, math and engineering into lessons will help with making everything more hands-on for middle schoolers.
- With short attention spans, project-based learning will also be the perfect way to introduce why STEM matters!
By making a passionate effort to teach girls about the way STEM relates to the world around them, more girls will consider STEM and be open to learning about careers involving it. Keeping girls engaged in STEM can be a challenge, but it’ll be much easier to do in an encouraging classroom/environment.
Bring in Role Models
According to Sonya Hayes, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, “one of the most powerful ways to get young women interested in science, math, and technology is to have them engage with older students or professionals in the field.”
Allowing middle school girls to learn from experienced STEM professionals who are women will make them feel comfortable going into STEM. Powerful women in STEM act as proof of what girls can accomplish.
Girls will also hear from other’s experiences in STEM and understand what challenges they might encounter. It would be an enlightening experience for them to learn more about future STEM careers and what they need to do in order to get there!
To learn more about a Chasing STEM & Making it More Inclusive from the leaders of STEM Education, register for our free webinar, STEMulating Conversations, today!
Written by Anumita Basani
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