On August 17th NYSCI held their regional workshop, Designing Girl Friendly Programs and Exhibits. The workshop focused on strategies forengaging girls in STEM experiences. Participants were able to explore gender dynamics that influence girls participation in STEM programming, obtained resources for helping them start their own girl friendly programs at their institutions and got the opportunity to design their own hands on lesson based on what the research says about girl friendly learning environments.
Facilitated by Auntaria T. Davis and supported by a Girls RISEnet mini-grant, The Dennis Project invited 40 underserved, minority middle and high school girls to participate in a 3-workshop series entitled: Girls Represent as Engineering Innovators. The Dennis Project partnered with My Future My Choice (MFMC), Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida and The Museum of Discovery and Science.
First, the girls were engaged in a presentation that introduced engineering careers and how engineering is utilized in their everyday lives. Next, to gain a better understanding of engineering the girls worked side by side with mentors; including MFMC’s very own female electrical engineer from the Motorola Company. The girls built circuits using Snap Circuit kits and were so enthused and inspired by their own progress, they were able to build AM radio frequency circuits.
Next, the girls were delighted by their very own robotic butterfly projects that they assembled, wired, and watched come alive. Finally, the group visited the Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale, FL where they discovered math and physics concepts in their brand-new Math Midway exhibit; explored hundreds of STEM related exhibits, and experienced engineering first-hand on the Max Flight roller coaster simulator.
On October 25 - 26, educators from Girls RISEnet regional hub OMSI coordinated a joint Girls RISEnet - NISE Net regional workshop in Fairbanks, Alaska. Hosted by the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska, Fairbanks campus, 14 participants from across the state of Alaska participated in a variety of activities. The first day of the workshop focused on introduction and reflection on how gender, culture, and other social factors can be leveraged to increase girls' participation in STEM activities. Participants reviewed museum exhibitions and NISE Net programs using the Girls RISEnet Girl-Friendly Exhibit Assessment tool, identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement in both.
On the second day, participants were introduced to a number of girl-friendly activities from the NISE Net program catalog, including making DNA necklaces, learning about molecular weight through chromatography, and comparing chemical reactions through soda explosions. Due to this novel collaboration between Girls RISEnet and NISE Net, participants were eligible to apply for both Girls RISEnet and NISE Net mini-grant opportunities.
Hosted by North Central Region Girls RISEnet hub, COSI, representatives from all eleven Girls RISEnet regional hub institutions met to expand their knowledge and skills to deliver a new year of Girls RISEnet professional development workshops. Guest presenters included Dr. Mary Esther Soto of Texas State University, who shared her research on best practices for engaging Latina girls and their families; and Dr. Patricia Campbell of Campbell-Kibler Associates Inc. presented an in-depth workshop on evaluating the outcomes of informal learning experiences.
Girls RISEnet Regional hub leaders also participated in an exciting new hands-on engineering activity: building underwater remote-operated vehicles (ROVs). Teams tested their vehicles in COSI's underwater tank.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History hosted its first STEM-related sleepover to 38 girl scouts from the Skyline Council of Virginia on October 12 – 13, 2012 with the support of a Girls RISEnet mini-grant. After a pizza dinner, the scouts participated in a panel discussion on STEM careers with four representatives from local organizations including the Science, Engineering, Math, and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) at Martinsville City Schools and New College Institute.
Ms. Helen Howell, Director of the local chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, and Ms. Laurie Witt from SEMAA led two challenging math, engineering, and space science activities, Passion for Pixels and Mars Rovers. The Passion for Pixels activity demonstrated how to send digital signals using grid paper and pencils. The Mars Rover activity challenged the girls to build the most inexpensive rover that would land safely on a rocky surface. Feedback from surveys given to the scout leaders indicated that the event raised awareness of gender equity in STEM fields and provided positive female role models for the girls.
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