How to Encourage STEM Interest in Girls That are in Your Troop

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Gender stereotypes and misconceptions about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) discourage girl’s involvement in the subjects. However, technological innovations and increased integration into daily life make STEM an essential part of childhood education in readiness for the tech-oriented future. If you scout troop, you can encourage them to explore STEM in the following ways.

1. Show them STEM Role Models.

Role models can act as inspiration and encourage your girls to explore STEM subjects. They also help provide guidance and tips on the subjects and broaden the girls’ views and perceptions about STEM. You can connect your troop to the numerous female professionals working in STEM fields such as computer science, research and health, and safety as role models.

Alternatively, find notable figures, especially female professionals excelling in the industry that they can relate to. Doing so helps them appreciate the importance of STEM and picture themselves in the same position. If you can’t bring the role models to speak to the girls, you can introduce them to documentaries and biographies featuring STEM roles models. For example, they can learn about Mae Jemison and Ada Lovelace, the first African-American to land in space, and the first programmer, respectively.

Below is a video of an amazing Ted Talk by Zoe Philpott who talks about Ada Lovelace the first programmer.

2. Learn With Them

You don’t have to know everything about STEM to create and maintain your troops’ interest in the subjects. When working with the girls on science or technology activities, focus and promote valuable skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. Explore and experiment with the girls and also work on finding solutions to their questions and problems together.

Leading by example and showing your interests and enthusiasm on the subjects will transfer to them and make them interested. By acknowledging that you don’t have all the facts and making an effort to learn with your girls, you boost their confidence. What’s more, they will be less likely to fear making mistakes and can become more confident in their abilities.

By learning with your troop, you also get to teach them effective research methods, tickle their curiosity, and cultivate a spirit of innovation. These help them internalize the core concepts of STEM much better.

3. Explain the Importance of STEM

Girl Scouts are more likely to explore STEM when they understand its importance and its relation to their daily lives. Show them t how STEM can improve daily lives and make the world a better place, in addition to offering lucrative career opportunities. From improving healthcare to boosting environmental sustainability, STEM plays a critical role in making a difference in society.

Since most people value meaningful work, knowing the applications of STEM in real life can encourage the girls to explore the subjects to make an impact. For example, doctors need medicines developed through science to tackle illnesses, while programmers and computer scientists require coding skills for technological innovations.

If you are interested in earning a STEM badge below are some activity booklets to make planning for the activities much easier. It will take the unknown out of the STEM activities and even give the girls a chance to lead their own meetings.

4. Encourage STEM-Related Activities.

Allowing your girls to engage in STEM activities gives them hands-on experience in the subjects. It is an excellent opportunity for them to form opinions depending on personal experiences. Involve girl scouts in hands-on projects and activities such as building things to engage them and expose them to the world of science.  For better results, keep the STEM activities in line with the girls’ interests.

Also, make it fun and allow them to test various ideas and experiments instead of giving them solutions. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend much as you can utilize readily available materials for the projects. It also gives them more practical experience as they realize how they can apply STEM in real life.  Be sure to offer encouragement and praise for their effort so they can stay motivated.

During your STEM activities, encourage collaboration and teamwork by having them work in groups or pairs. This way, the girls can learn from their peers and share ideas. Besides assigning STEM projects to your girl scouts, you can also connect them to local STEM events and programs they can attend.

Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Programmers: With Stem Projects 

Real-world technology projects pair up with inspiring biographies of female computer scientists to make a full-color book that will have kids ages 8 to 11 eager to develop their own apps!

Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Engineers: With Stem Projects

Hands-on STEM projects shine a light into the world of engineering and encourage kids ages 8 to 11 to learn about five female engineers who changed the way things work in this full-color book that teaches critical and creative thinking.

5. Debunk STEM Stereotypes and Misconceptions.

Stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding STEM may discourage your girls from pursuing STEM subjects. For example, most people think that STEM is only suitable for male learners, shutting girls out. Other common misconceptions are it makes students antisocial, limits creativity, and is ideal for those who want to become scientists.

It is, therefore, crucial to deconstruct these false beliefs and stereotypes if you want your girls to develop an interest in STEM. Ask your girls what they think about STEM and let them air their opinions. Doing so will give you insight into what notions or beliefs are holding them back. This way, you can effectively debunk them, answer their questions and dress their concerns so they can be more comfortable exploring STEM.

Girls should know that STEM requires diligence, attention to detail, and ingenuity to excel. Encourage the girls that anyone can venture into STEM, and it does not necessarily make one antisocial. Instead, they can collaborate on projects and utilize their creativity to complete tasks and solve problems.

Another amazing option for troops that want someone else to lead the activities is to enroll in coding camps. Not only will they gain valuable programming skills and add value o their education, but they will also appreciate STEM more and prepare for their future careers.

STEM Fun Patch Ideas

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