Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois' STEM program is about increasing girl’s participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Girls push boundaries, test limits, and look at the world around them with inquisitive eyes. They’re natural scientists! Girl Scouts introduces girls of every age to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences relevant to everyday life. Whether they’re discovering how a car’s engine runs, how to manage finances, or exploring careers in STEM fields, girls are fast-forwarding into the future.
Girl Scouts’ Unique Approach to STEM.
Girl Scouts’ approach to STEM is unique because STEM experiences are framed within the context of leadership: As girls participate in Girl Scouting, they develop leadership skills to make the world a better place. Research shows girls are more interested in STEM careers when they know how their work can help others.
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience engages girls through the three Girl Scout processes of: girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning.
Here’s how these processes provide quality STEM experiences for girls:
- Girl-led: Even when a girl has an interest in STEM, she might find that boys take the lead in a school environment due to unspoken assumptions about gender roles. Girl Scouts offers a safe, supportive place for girls to seek challenges. The girl-led process encourages girls to decide which topics they want to explore and how they want to go about it.
- Learning by doing: Research shows that, particularly with STEM, youth need to be hands-on, active learners. The learning-by-doing process encourages this approach. In addition, Girl Scouts’ learning-by-doing process involves a reflection step that asks girls to think about how a given activity worked and what they would do differently in the future—a key skill in scientific testing and conducting experiments.
- Cooperative learning: In general, girls prefer a collaborative leadership style, rather than the traditional, top-down, “command and control” approach. The cooperative learning process gives girls the opportunity to develop leadership and STEM skills in a way that might feel most comfortable.
Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
The goal of the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) is to elevate the voices of girls on issues that matter to them and their futures. The aim of this report is to explore how girls can better become engaged in STEM through examination of what girls themselves say are their interests and perceptions about these important fields.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY—How does a scientist discover new things? How do you become a scientist and what is it like being one? Girl Scouts in the sixth grade or higher with a strong interest in science can find out at the 11th Annual Scout Nano Event, held by the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University. It will be held Saturday, March 2 on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Girls will learn about the exciting field of Nanotechnology and see, in small group demonstrations, how scientists use atomic force and electron microscopes to discover exciting properties of matter at the nanoscale (that's one billionth of a meter!) Activities are designed to encourage lots of talk between the girls and the scientists. Many of the scientists are young women (PhD candidates and post doctorals) who greatly enjoy this opportunity to meet and talk with science-enthused Girl Scouts.
- See pictures from last year's Nano Event at: 2012 Nano Event