While I love it when ANY kids show interest in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), I get especially excited when girls show interest. It’s a little bit selfish, as a women in Technology, I’d love to have more female colleagues! Here’s a few statistics you should definitely see….
- 21% of girls say their parents encourage them to become an actress, while 10% of girls say their parents have encouraged them to think about an engineering career.
-Harris Interactive for the American Society for Quality, 2009
- More than half (57%) of all girls say that girls don’t typically consider a career in STEM.
-Girl Scout Research Institute, 2012
- Male students are over three times more likely to be interested in STEM majors and careers, compared to female students
-My College Options and STEMconnector, 2012
- While 54% of AP test-takers in 2012 were female, only 19% of that group took the Computer Science AP exam. -College Board, 2012 Click To Tweet
- There has been a 79% decline in the number of 1st year undergraduate women interested in a Computer Science major between 2000 and 2011.
These statistics really bother me, so I recently went on KSL’s Studio 5 to talk about how to get girls excited about STEM subjects! Check out the video here, or read all about it below!
Show them they already like it – My daughter and I were in the car a few years ago and I was asking her about things she likes. She talked about dinosaurs, and rocks, and stars. I said, hey that’s geology, that’s paleontology, that’s astronomy… etc. Then I told her that all of those things were science subjects, and that it sounded like her favorite school subject was definitely science! Just having that pointed out to her helped her see that she LOVES science. If your daughter likes jewelry, show them how gemstones are made, and point out that they must love geology. If they love drawing, show them some geometry concepts, and help them see how much they love math! If they love inventing things, or putting things together, tell them how much they must love engineering! Making the connection between things they love and how it connects to a STEM related concept really helps make STEM something they love instead of something they don’t understand.
Sign up for camps, clubs and events – My daughter’s elementary school has a STEM club that meets every week. She has been so excited about going every single time! I love that she can get together with like minded kids and explore the possibilities of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math! There are also several camps you can sign your children up for. A google search of STEM and your state, city or area should yield some great results. When I google STEM Utah, I get a ton of results that show events, afterschool activities, and camps like Girls Go Digital. Doing just a little bit of digging can really benefit your child’s interest in STEM
Purchase STEM related toys – I really love that there are now some really great options when it comes to toys that feature STEM concepts. I really like the various sets from Goldieblox. The woman who created Goldieblox is extremely passionate about getting girls excited about engineering, and all of the toys on the site reflect that passion! There are so many really fun things for girls to build and create. I love that there isn’t just one way to build the projects either, they can get creative and come up with their own style!
Our family also really enjoys Tinker Crate. When you sign up for the subscription service on tinkercrate.com, you will be sent a new project every month, along with a small magazine type book that has other projects and activities you can do that are still related to the concept you learned with the main project. My kids are actually going to start putting together the Tinkercrate item on a youtube video every month, so be on the lookout for that!
Watch STEM related shows – My daughter loves Project Mc2, available on Netflix. it is a fantastic show that really bridges the gap between girls who are already excited about STEM, and girls who are just learning that they like those subjects. There is also Annedroids, available on Amazon, and SciGirls available on PBS and Netflix. All of these shows can help girls see that liking STEM topics is fun, and something they can totally get into!
Let them play STEM apps – There are some really great apps out there for STEM topics. I keep this Pinterest board updated with great STEM apps that I find, so make sure to follow it!
These are just a few ideas to get girls super excited about STEM! I know I would love to see more girls in STEM careers, and then maybe I won’t be such a rare sight!
Be sure to also follow this Pinterest board with some awesome STEM activities you can do with your kids!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com