Igniting Curiosity: Stories and Resources for Celebrating Women and Girls in Science

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Classroom Application
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“If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off… no matter what they say.” 

Barbara McClintock, cytogeneticist and winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

As we approach the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th, it’s an excellent opportunity to spark the spirit of curiosity and discovery by sharing the stories of brilliant women in science. Before immersing students in the world of women in science, take a moment to explore the history of this day. By familiarizing yourself with the origins of this global event, you’ll be better equipped to share its importance with your students!

Interactive Activities to Engage Students

One way to keep students engaged while providing them with some background knowledge on women in science is to create fun interactive quizzes and games. Platforms like Kahoot! (reviewed here) and Quizizz (reviewed here) enable you to create customized quizzes on any topic.

Connecting with Women Scientists

Did you know that you can request a video conference with a scientist? The organization, Skype a Scientist, let’s you organize virtual sessions with scientists from around the globe. Teachers can specify the scientific field and choose a specific speaker from a list of scientists, making it easy to find a female scientist to speak to the class. Let’s explore some engaging student activities your students can do to reflect on the virtual conversation.

  • Digital Reflection Journals – Encourage students to use Google Docs (reviewed here) to jot down key insights, questions, and reflections on the scientist’s experiences. This not only reinforces writing skills but also provides a personal connection to the session!
  • Class Discussions – Provide students an opportunity to discuss what they learned from the virtual session with the scientist through collaborative discussion protocols such as Think Pair Share or Turn and Talk. You can even host an online discussion using platforms like Padlet (reviewed here) or Flip (reviewed here). Students can share their thoughts, ask questions, and respond to each other in a visually engaging way. 
  • Podcast Creation – Have students create short podcasts discussing the highlights of the virtual session. Checkout this special topics collection of available podcast creators. Podcast creation combines writing, research, and technology.

Integrating Women in Science All Year Long

I’d also like to take the time to invite you to go beyond celebrating the efforts of women in science for one day. There are ways to honor the work of these amazing women throughout the entire school year. You can try to integrate books or stories of remarkable women scientists into your lessons and activities all year long.

Furthermore you can extend the practice of acknowledging female accomplishments to include achievements in various fields. Incorporate a “Subject Achiever of the Month” recognition during announcements, showcasing the accomplishments of outstanding females in different subjects. 

Additional Resources

Lastly, to ensure that you’re able to best celebrate this amazing day in your classroom I want to make sure your toolkit is fully stocked. Below are some additional resources that provide even more ideas and activities, adding richness to our celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

The resources shared here are just a small snippet of what’s out there. I encourage you to do your own exploration of ideas and share your insights in the comments below. Together, let’s continue championing the achievements of women in science and cultivating a culture of curiosity, learning, and empowerment!

About the author: Erica De Los Santos

Erica De Los Santos is a Learning Experience Designer with a wide range of experiences in education. From her work in the Peace Corps, to helping teachers as a SEL and Cultural Proficiency and Inclusiveness Specialist, she has developed a deep understanding of pedagogical practices that help teachers to propel all students to academic success. When she’s not working on classroom applications, Erica enjoys running and works to develop inclusive environments for other runners.

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