Blog by Tanner Nelson
Whether it’s in your classroom or at an after school or summer program, make it a goal to empower girls to get excited about STEM (or STEAM) this summer! Getting girls engaged with STEM-related concepts and activities is especially important because women remain underrepresented in STEM-related fields in the U.S. workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women fill almost half of all jobs; however, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. Check out the following ideas to learn how you can empower girls through STEM this summer.
Incorporate STEM into your classroom and/or your school's summer learning programs.
Encourage the girls in your classroom and/or your school’s after school or summer learning program to engage with STEM-related games and activities. BrainBox® STEAM Games is a phenomenal resource for girls interested in having fun while engaging with STEM/STEAM. Additional STEM activities for girls include Small Group Garden Pack, K’NEX ® Computer Control Set, See-Through Composter, and Butterfly Garden Set. Having the opportunity to experience STEM-related concepts through games and activities is empowering because it shows girls that STEM is fun!
Encourage the parents of the girls in your classroom to incorporate the following tips into their summer fun.
Encourage conversation about STEM in common summer activities.
Engage in conversation with the parents of the girls in your care about incorporating STEM in their daily summer routine. Some activities that encompass STEM concepts include (but are not limited to) the following: gardening, baking, stargazing, and exploring insects.
Promote STEM-related summer camps.
As an educator, you can inform your students’ parents that they can engage their girls in STEM summer camps while school is out. Check out the Engineering Education Service Center’s camp directory for a list of STEM-related camps in your area. Take advantage of the many STEM programs for girls this summer!
Have STEM-related toys and activities for her to play with at home.
Once school is out, the girls in your classroom will be spending quite a bit of time at home this summer. Remind the parents of your students how important it is to have STEM-related toys and activities around the house for their daughters’ engagement. Some STEM toys for girls we suggest include Roominate® Cotton Candy Carnival STEM Kit (145+ Pieces), Roominate® Emma's Townhouse STEM Kit (129 Pieces), and LEGO® Classic Creative Supplement Bright (10694).
Be her role model.
Parents have a large influence on how their children think and feel. Suggest to the parents of the girls in your classroom that simply letting their daughter know that she can do anything she wants to do and be anything she wants to be will empower her. Explain the importance of taking advantage of the opportunity to have a positive influence by not using language that suggests that their daughter is limited. Encourage parents to empower their daughters by leading by example.
Create an environment in your classroom and/or your school's summer learning program that promotes STEM play for both boys and girls.
Creating such an environment begins with talking with the girls in your care about how they are capable of becoming anything they wish. Additionally, it is a good idea to read STEM-related books and/or have STEM-related books as a part of your classroom library. Engaging girls by having them read about STEM will help get them excited about STEM concepts. Lastly, as an educator, you can encourage boys and girls in your class and/or summer or after school program to work together on STEM activities for kids. Promoting this collaboration will empower the girls in your care by showing them that they are capable and welcome to play and explore STEM concepts alongside the boys in class.
For additional information on STEM-based learning, see our Promoting STEM-Based Learning During the Summer Months blog post. You may also be interested in reading some of the STEM articles in our Insights and Inspirations section.
About the Author: Tanner Nelson is Kaplan Early Learning Company's summer marketing intern. She will be a senior this upcoming year at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Tanner is majoring in communication with a concentration in public relations and minoring in both arts entrepreneurship and psychology. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing at the lake.