How to Get Your Girl Into Science (page 2)

How to Get Your Girl Into Science

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Updated on Jul 14, 2008

Sally Ride Science also points out that the school environment can make or break your daughter’s interest in science, math and technology. Without even knowing it, your daughter’s teachers and friends may convey subtle messages about who a scientist is, which students are “naturally” good at certain subjects, and what learning styles are best. Parents should look into their school’s math and science program to make sure they are using the strategies most effective in engaging girls (and boys) in science and math.7 These strategies include:

  • Hands-on activities
  • Introduction of role models
  • Activities involving teamwork and collaboration
  • Activities that have an application to the real world
  • Activities that encourage problem solving

The handbook recommends that parents find out what math and science classes their children should be taking at each grade level to keep their options open. Here are some other ways to stay involved in your child’s education:

  • Advocate for your daughter. Make sure her teachers are well trained in research-based teaching strategies including gender equity strategies. While teachers don’t intentionally favor boys in their classroom, studies show that classroom practices can benefit some students over others. Teachers should receive specific training in promoting gender balance in their classroom.
  • Pay attention to classroom materials. Are posters, textbooks and handouts gender fair? Do science textbooks introduce female as well as male role models?
  • Inform yourself about resources at your daughter’s school. Does the school have an adequate supply of lab equipment, computers, and Internet connections? Does the school provide after-school science activities or clubs? Are girls actively encouraged to participate in these?
  • Participate in parent meetings. These are good times to ask your daughter’s teachers questions such as, “What is my daughter expected to know in math and science at this grade level?” “What are my child’s strengths in these areas? Where does she need help?” “How can I best support my child in math and science?”

For more information, check out Sally Ride Science

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