Leveraging International Women’s day for encouraging Stem careers

An Author:Stella Magid-Podolsky

Dates the activity took place: March 8-April 30

Introduction

From March 8 (International Women’s day) and until the end of April, 7th grade students were exposed to the different opportunities for future in STEM careers. This awareness raising activity was laced with scientific trivia questions while taking advantage of STEM ALLIANCE and STE(A)M IT guide and resources.

Explanation about the activity

This activity was held weekly for a total of seven sessions (in the middle of the period there was a spring Passover vacation of 2.5 weeks). The activity was a hybrid activity as some of it was face-to-face and some of it was an online. Three 7th grade classes (25 students in each class) participated in this activity. Students were exposed to:

  • Women in Science (“Then and now”)
  • Connection between Science and STEM careers
  • Different STEM careers (IT careers, Space careers, the connection between Chemistry & Physics and careers in a Medicine fields).

Long-term activity

I began to teach this activity on March 8th –The International Women day.

Lesson 1:

Introduction to the Topic and it’s activities

 My students were introduced to the subject-“Women in Science” through a presentation. Also, there was another presentation about the importance of learning Physics and STEM for students in general and for girls in particular. This lesson took 50 minutes and was held online in a synchronic method.

Here is a link to the presentation:

Women in Science

Encourage girls for STEM professions

Lesson 2: Trivia on women in Science.

During this activity my students were exposed to a Trivia about Women in Science (online synchronic activity). The class worked together and with my guidance students solved the Trivia.

The link to the Trivia:Trivia: “Women in Science”

Lesson 3: An Inquiry activity

This activity had two parts.

Part 1: An online a-synchronic activity (unlimited time)

During this lesson each student should choose the character of one woman (from the previous trivia). He\she should read about her history, her career and about her Scientific contribution to Science and\or Technology.

Part 2: Face to face meeting.

During this activity each student presented his\her findings from the previous inquiry activity. This activity took 110 minutes.

Lesson 4: Watching a clips about Marie Curie and discussion

This was a face to face activity which took 50 minutes. In the beginning of the activity students watched 5 clips from the movie “Radioactive ” (about Marie Curie). Then we had a discussion with two guiding questions:

First question:  what was women’s place in STEM through the history?

Second question: Which connections do you think exist between STEM discoveries and STEM &Medicine careers? (For example, the discovery of radioactivity helps in some inventions in Medicine diagnostic).

Marrie Cuire

The link for clips about Marie Curie: DoGoodery EDU Resources

Lesson 5: Is there is a connection between IT, prediction and Covid-19?

It was a face to face meeting which took 50 minutes.

Students were exposed to a young female Israeli Scientist Kira Radinsky through a few videos. They learned about her biography and were exposed to her research about disaster prediction. This led to a discussion about IT careers and to the connection between IT, statistics and Medicine (the ability of prediction a pandemic with an emphasis on Covid-19). They were also exposed to applications of predictive data mining in medicine.

Videos about Kira Radinsky

Lesson 6: “Introduction to Space careers and more…”

This was an a-synchronic activity of 120 minutes.

Students watched an interview with the Female astronaut Jessica Meir conducted by Israeli students last year. In this video Jessica talked about STEM education in schools, STEM careers in space and also encouraged girls not to give up, follow their dreams and that they can have many opportunities in Space. Also, she showed some incredible pictures from Space, her crew and from her training for the Space Mission.

An Interview with Jessica Meir

The video with an interview with Jessica Meir

Lesson 7: Summary activity

This activity had 2 parts:

First part : Online a-synchronic activity (unlimited time)

Students were given a link to the Repository of STEM jobs profiles (The STEM Alliance / STE(A)M IT Career Sheets http://steamit.eun.org/category/stem-careers/)

Each student picked from the career sheets one STEM job that he\she was interested in. They needed to read about this job and present a presentation to their peers with an emphasis on these aspect:

• Overview of the job

• Typical working day

 • How to become a professional in this career path?

 • What skills are needed in this career?

*The STE(A)M IT Guidelines on how to present STEM jobs in classroom http://steamit.eun.org/guidelines-on-how-to-present-stem-jobs-in-classrooms/ (page 14)

One of the resources for student’s inquiry work

Part 2: Student’s presentations

Face to face activity (2 hours)

 Students presented their work and at the end of presentations each student explained why this job interest him/her and there were also a Q&A session followed by a closing discussion for this long term activity.

Students present their work in the class

Learning outcomes:

  1. In the student’s comments many kids wrote that this activity was very diverse and interesting for them.
  2. Also, many kids indicated that this activity motivated them to learn STEM SUBJECTS in high school.
  3. Most of the girls wrote that they are interested in Space careers and that the interview with Jessica Meir was very inspiring for them.
  4. Most of the students (boys and girls) wrote that the activity with Repository of STEM jobs profiles and further presentation to their peers was very interesting and inspiring.
  5. Most of the students indicated the activity about Kira Radinsky as a surprising and unexpected and they wrote that they want to know more about predictive technologies.

Conclusions

As an experienced STEM teacher I really enjoyed preparing this long term activity. I put an emphasis on a long term process which exposes students to the topic from many points of view such as: STEM careers, the importance of learning STEM subjects at school, Women in STEM, innovative STEM careers and researches and more…It was a holistic activity. I believe that if a teacher is enthusiastic about something, then students will also be enthusiastic about it. I was very enthusiastic about this topic and activity and I got a really good feedback from my students.

The resources that I used from Stem Alliance and STEM (IT) projects were very useful and great!

My advice for other teachers: “Dream together with your students and this dreams will come true”! Inspire them to be interested in something and maybe in the future, when they should make decision about something, they will remember your activity and their decision will based on something that you did with them.

You are invited to do this activity with your students and adapt it to your class!

”All visuals belong to the Author – Attribution CC-BY”

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