Girls RISEnet Regional Workshop: Engaging Girls in STEM at Cal Academy
Informal science educators and program managers from San Francisco Bay Area museums and science centers joined forces on Saturday July 30 at the first annual GirlsRISEnet workshop held at the California Academy of Sciences. Staff from The Tech Museum in San Jose, Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, the Aquarium of the Bay, as well as from the Academy, were guided by GirlsRISEnet extension agents Eileen Harrington and Roberta Brett to discover ways they can build capacity in their organizations for developing and delivering STEM programming and exhibits that are attractive, relevant and impactful for girls. One of the more popular hands-on activities shared during the all-day workshop was the “Pink Legos” Spatial Visualization Activity. After working through the problems in teams, participants agreed that not only did the activity demonstrate that spatial skills can improve with practice, but they also felt it is something they can easily incorporate into their programs. Equally meaningful, and fun, was the Exhibit Quest activity, which gave participants the opportunity to assess and rate the effectiveness of Academy exhibits to be girl-friendly. For those from other museums, they found they could easily use this exhibit evaluation tool at their own museums, too. At the end of the day, workshop participants left with a better understanding of ways to design their programs and exhibits with girls in mind, and how that can benefit everyone!