It’s amazing to witness how the potential for change inherently rests in children. when working with them, you can almost feel their ideas forming and changing in your presence.
The girls science club started again this week. We had decided that we wanted to make sure the girls understand why we are holding the girls science club. It’s not just about doing fun activities and getting candy; we want them to know that women can be scientists. Divya put together a beautiful welcome activity. First we had the girls draw a scientist. The idea was to try and see whether they drew men or women. We assumed that most of them would draw men. Interestingly and wonderfully, most of them drew women.
This could be because either they are already internalizing our message or had no preconceptions of stereotypical gender associations, but a more likely reason is that since we have so many wonderful, graduate, women volunteers, mentors were sitting at each table and all of the mentors drew women, knowing the point we were trying to make, and a lot of the girls copied the mentors. Either way, I think they are still getting a similar message. I heard some good conversations where mentors were asked and stated that yes, they were actually scientists, so it was okay to draw a picture of them.
Some of the girls were even explicit about it, which was adorable.
Then Divya had them all come back together and talk about what they drew. She asked each of them what their scientist had and then asked them to draw their suggestion on a large stick figure scientists. It was a great activity all the girls worked on together where we got our quote of the day “I’m a scientist, I wear high heels.”
The last part of the activity was wonderful. Divya set up a kind of bingo game where the girls had to fill in a 9×9 board of squares. Each of the squares had descriptions of what each mentor does in them and the girls had to go around and find the mentor that fits with each description. The hope was that they would have examples of what women scientists can study.
It went really well! They were really excited to get all of their spaces filled in. The descriptions ended up being a little too much, but we were able to boil them down to a few words for them. Overall it was a great first activity that I think everyone enjoyed.
Quote of the day: “I’m a scientist, I wear high heels.”