Encouraging STEAM Learning in Girls
It’s no secret that STEAM professional fields are largely dominated by men. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it wouldn’t be bad either if more women entered the realm of STEAM in a professional way. In fact, women would bring a different dynamic and perspective, not to mention new and innovative ideas as well.
How can we get to a point where this is possible? By starting at a young age. Fostering a love for different subjects often starts with the fun and games that are explored by youngsters. Of course, there are interests that are discovered at a later point in life, but overall the best way to get started with something is to get started young.
Experiments and STEAM games are fun for kids of all ages, but we usually see interest begin to taper off as girls get progressively older. There are many reasons for this, which can easily lead to a heated debate! So instead we will focus on what can be done to encourage STEAM learning in girls.
Enroll in a Girls-Only Program
These are fun and empowering with the opportunity to increase skills and make new friends at the same time. Programs can be anything from a day-long event to several weeks over summer. They are usually held in every country, so with a little research, you can find one taking place near you. At the end of this article, there is a link to programs in the US.
Continue the Games and Kits
If you follow our blog, we recently published a post about coding and programming kits for kids. These types of games are fun and encourage different aspects of STEAM through the idea of play and problem solving to achieve a goal. Kits are great tools for girls to continue their interest in STEAM.
Do Things Differently
Easier said than done. For educators, this means finding different ways to approach learning. Traditional classrooms have gone out the window. Although the basics of every subject still need to be taught and studied, there are now more innovative ways of teaching. These include flipped classrooms, project based learning, and more. Even though these are specifically STEAM activities, they can be. Any thinking of this sort easily connects with STEAM subjects.
Using Art as an Entry Point
There is an argument to be made that the “A” in STEAM was added in an attempt to balance out the gender difference in STEM. In addition to being a subject that is easily connected to the science, technology, engineering, and math in its own right, art is generally favored by girls. Therefore, we can use art as a way to peak interest in the other subjects.
There are many inspiring art projects that are related to geometry or space, for example. These are great lead-ins to math and science. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the often natural interest in arts to peak interest in other areas.
Finding a Mentor
STEAM mentors are becoming more and more popular as STEAM is continuing to become an important career area. Mentors can be official, or a more indirect route can be taken by finding someone you know to spend some time with your child or class. Anyone who has a real and practical interest or practice in STEAM should be a perfect fit to show young women what can be garnered from these subjects.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to teachers, friends, or acquaintances who work in the STEAM industry to help guide young women in their pursuit of finding something that’s right for them, or even just pursuing an overall interest. It’s really everyone’s responsibility to empower every child to follow what they love, including girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.