Audience: Parents, Educators, School Admins, College Women in STEM |
Keywords: girl power, girls in STEM, mentoring, empowerment, SEL/social & emotional learning, Wonder Woman |
Outline, Main Points:
• In the past decade, the “girl power” messaging in popular media, including the June 2 release of the superhero film Wonder Woman, has been inspiring young teens to believe in their ability to take charge of and improve their own circumstances.
• Pretty Brainy offers a SEL-infused STEM curriculum that frames technical subjects and practices in ways that are relevant to pre-teen and young teen girls. As research and effective teachers have shown, social and emotional skills play a significant role in how well students learn.
• Through the personal relevance of course material, students find it easier to engage with the rigor that they will need for understanding quantitative reasoning concepts, and for the work required in carrying these practices through as they design and execute their projects. Students rise to high expectations.
• For some students, this process is such a revelation that they want to give back to their community by ensuring that younger girls in the program share in the same positive experience. For example, Madeleine Boyles, a Loveland, CO, teen who will enter 10th grade in the fall, will teach computer science and engineering design to girls in her former middle school.
• These ambitious students enhance their own STEM learning with a layer of mentorship as they work with the Pretty Brainy teaching staff and college students who lead the programs, providing context, pedagogy, and leadership.
• Through modeling by collegiate women, who are closer to them in age than most professionals, these young mentors further understand the empowerment of learning and teaching the skills that they can use to make a tangible, inventive difference in the world.
Heidi A. Olinger