As students learn about the world around them and drive innovation into the future, it’s important to inspire and provide adequate opportunities for them to learn about STEM subjects. While women make up half of the total college educated workforce, they only make up 29% of the science and engineering workforce. This means that encouraging girls in STEM is imperative to the future, and should be a top priority for all educators. Learn three ways how you can empower the brightest young girls in your classroom.
Expose the Youngest Girls to STEM Learning
When addressing the need for more girls to get involved in STEM, simply focusing on older students isn’t enough. According to the National Science Foundation, female and male students perform equally well in mathematics and science on standardized tests. Because students have the same potential to excel in STEM subjects, encouraging girls to embrace the subjects in primary school will allow them to develop their skills by high school. Administrators and educators must strive to create environments in the early years of education that are inviting to girls, through collaborative activities in the classroom and project-based learning. When young boys and girls are exposed to STEM collaboration—and are equally encouraged to study those disciplines—interested students with talent will be able to develop their skills.
Caption: ExploraVision helps increase gender parity among younger students, as show in this photo with Bill Nye.
Establish a 1-to-1 Mentorship Program
Mentorship isn’t only for young adults. Connecting girls with other role model STEM students in older grades—or adults in the community—can help build confidence during the most formative years. As young girls seek out mentors in STEM education early on, this can translate into success as students reach 12th grade. Within our program, ExploraVision fosters the importance of meeting upstanding community leaders and mentors to learn about the fascinating world of science.
Encourage Participation in Project-Based Learning
One of the best ways to ensure a young girl’s success is to help teach her leadership and teamwork skills as a child. While many women grow into empathetic colleagues, young girls can refine their skills early in their lives through ExploraVision. Since 1992, ExploraVision has helped STEM students imagine the future through technology, and create an equal platform for all students. Since then, the program has come a long way, with 2014 being the year that the competition had more female winners than ever before.
Caption: Female winners at the 2016 ExploraVision Awards Weekend learn effective public speaking and demonstration techniques.
There are more examples of successful females in STEM careers now than ever before. With so many positive role models to look up to, girls simply need the confidence and passion to pursue a scientific career. Through early exposure, positive mentors and involvement in programs like ExploraVision, the prominence of females in STEM fields will continue to grow.