What is Girls
in the SYSTEM?
Girls in the SYSTEM is an NSF-funded project. It brings together five
departments of the University of Arizona (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,
Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mining and Geological Engineering
and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women in the Women's Studies
Department) and the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council with the goal of improving
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for girls
in grades 3 - 8, especially Mexican American, Native American and economically
underprivileged girls in southern Arizona. This partnership links informal
and formal educators in its effort to reach these girls. By designing activities
that respond to the local setting and by including parents, teachers and
troop leaders, we connect the educational system with the community.
What are the
components of this program?
Experienced teachers, preservice teachers and Girl Scout troop leaders
receive training in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and gender
equity at STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Academies
held twice each year. These workshops provide opportunities for participants
to work with innovative educational resources that increase their knowledge
of STEM and provide instructional ideas for their work with youth, placing
special emphasis on issues of gender equity.
Girl Scout troop program
Some STEM Academy participants facilitate incorporation of STEM activities
into Girl Scout troop meetings. Six-week sessions take place at selected
sites. This program is designed to stimulate and nurture girls' interest
in using methods of inquiry to enhance their understanding of STEM. Facilitators
use challenging, hands-on STEM activities that support and expand girls'
abilities to solve problems using the tools of scientific investigation
and their natural curiosity about how things work.
Summer Day Camps
Week-long summer programs are facilitated by some of the educators
who participate in the STEM Academy. Five one-week camps take place each
summer at various sites in Tucson and vicinity. The camps provide engaging
activities that motivate children's interest in STEM. In addition, they
serve as teaching laboratories in which educator participants implement
new teaching strategies with small groups of children. Some of the weeks
include boys in order to enable educators to analyze and refine their own
practices with regard to gender equity.
Parents and Other Family Members
Workshops for parents and other family members have the goal of informing
them of available resources to strengthen their children's- especially
their daughters'-interest and engagement in STEM. The workshops engage
family members in STEM activities and apprise them of the significance
of their role in the academic preparation of their children.
Adults in the Community
Leadership development opportunities are offered to adult participants
to allow them to take initiative in extending the project's impact. Mini-grants
are available to STEM Academy participants and parents who will develop
activities such as study groups, mother-daughter STEM events, and presentations
to other interested community groups.
and Indicators for Successful STEM Activities
Website updated and maintained by
Cristi D. Guevara.