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Teaching young women the importance of STEM is so crucial in today’s world. Historically, women have been discouraged from pursuing STEM jobs, which is a huge tragedy. Thankfully, the Girl Scouts of the USA was formed to empower girls and pave the way for a lifetime of leadership in fields women belong in! STEM activities can be the start of a lifelong passion for many scouts.
Lots of girls don’t even think about going into STEM fields, in part because they aren’t taught what careers in the field can look like and how they might get into it.
What better place to introduce STEM to young girls than in a group of their peers, in a safe and fun environment? Today we’re going to go beyond basic first aid– I’m going to help you out with taking your new year goal setting to the next level.
Even better if you can bring in STEM professionals. Whether it’s a family member, another troop leader, many want to support Girl Scouts because they know the impact it can have for the future. Having a role model can personify their interests and help them feel like they can achieve their goals. With that in mind, here are some amazing ways to spark ideas for STEM activities that will work for your troop.
A big part of STEM is building our environmental stewardship and outdoor skills. If you have a body of water available to you, there are so many options to create activities that will help your scouts practice using the scientific method. You can help your scouts develop a hypothesis, collect data, and see if the data supports their hypothesis, or just explore together. You can help your girls measure water flow, see how many bugs there are in the water in a given area, compare sand and dirt from different parts of the lake, or check the depth of the lake water along the side of a dock.
During the winter months, new opportunities for hands-on experiences open up in this realm. If you have a frozen lake, you could even bring in people like ice fishermen who have detailed safety knowledge, go out onto the ice, drill down, and measure the ice in different parts of the lake.
A lake study is completely customizable to you and your troop. If you don’t have a lake nearby, you could alter the activity and study a creek, river, or the ocean.
Of course, any activity with children near bodies of water requires constant adult supervision. Make sure to consider how many adult volunteers will be available and what ages you have in your troop as you decide what activity fits best for you.
If you lead scouts of a lower grade level but still want to work on their STEM skills, studying space is an easy way to engage students who might not be interested in other types of science. There are so many Girl Scout activities you can try with everyday materials to learn more about the universe.
You could have your girls create models of the solar system, visit a planetarium together, or go stargazing and learn how to spot constellations together. You could make outer space crafts. Studying outer space is a great way to teach hesitant scouts that STEM subjects can be fun!
There are so many fun and engaging ways to introduce STEM to high school students who feel like they’ve seen it all. Connecting with your local robotics team at the high school, community center, or science center is an unexpected way to get your scouts’ attention, bring in some curiosity, and make new friends.
If you’ve never done this before, your local council might have some tips on who you can contact to make a robotics design challenge happen! These engineering activities are most natural to bring into your high schoolers’ schedule, but younger kids can also dig in and give it a shot, depending on the difficulty level of the specific activity.
Printable Robotic Activity Booklets
If you don’t have any robotics opportunities available in your area, video games can be another touchpoint for Girl Scouts who aren’t so sure about STEM. There are so many online resources that can help any age of girls practice coding.
Even the least STEM-inclined students can enjoy the chance to jump in and use critical thinking when it comes to new technological skills. Learning to design video games and other software can help kids grow their excitement about engineering!
In all of your science, technology, and engineering fun, don’t forget about math! Helping your scouts develop their math skills can pave the way for a future in STEM. There are so many ways you can make math exciting for kids who love it, and less intimidating or boring to kids who aren’t naturally math-inclined.
If you want to grow your scouts’ math skills, you can create your own math-based scavenger hunt, act out story problems as a group, or play online math games together. These ideas are best suited for middle school scouts, but can be adapted for any grade level.
There are so many more STEM activities you can try according to your girls’ interests that will help them gain curiosity and a sense of self-efficacy about their potential future STEM careers. Check out the activity packs on my site to spice things up and further your girls’ passion for STEM!
Enjoy every minute being a leader and continue to inspire your girls!
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