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  1. Rita Karl
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritakkarl/
  3. Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Twin Cities PBS TPT
  1. Niki Becker
  2. STEM Media and Education Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Twin Cities PBS TPT

SciGirls CONNECT 2: Investigating the Use of Gender Equitable Teaching Strate...

NSF Awards: 1612605

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

Twin Cities PBS (TPT) has developed a research-based gender equitable and culturally responsive instructional practices called the SciGirls Strategies to inform the development of SciGirls media, games and professional development for STEM educators who work with girls. The strategies were updated through the NSF grant, SciGirls CONNECT 2: Investigating the Use of Gender Equitable Teaching Strategies to Support STEM Identity Development in Youth (Award #1612605).

TPT completed a literature review, covering the time period 2014-2018, on what strategies are most effective at engaging and retaining middle school-aged girls in STEM studies and career pathways. TPT also collaborated with 32 educators from 16 diverse girl-serving STEM outreach programs that use SciGirls educational approaches, media and activities. Input from educators was combined with data from research publications and resulted in these six strategies:

  1. Connect STEM experiences to girls’ lives.
  2. Support girls as they investigate questions and solve problems using STEM practices.
  3. Empower girls to embrace struggle, overcome challenges, and increase self-confidence in STEM.
  4. Encourage girls to identify and challenge STEM stereotypes.
  5. Emphasize that STEM is collaborative, social, and community oriented.
  6. Provide opportunities for girls to interact with and learn from diverse STEM role models.

In addition, both research and practice highlight the need for educators to design an inclusive learning environment and use culturally responsive practices to effectively serve all girls in STEM programs. SciGirls educational approaches can advance gender sensitivity among educators. With this awareness, educators can recognize and avoid the unconscious behaviors that often contribute to climates unfavorable for youth in STEM classrooms or activities. 

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (30 posts)
  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 10, 2021 | 10:16 p.m.

    Welcome showcase participants! We look forward to hearing your feedback around the SciGirls Strategies, updated in 2019 (formerly the SciGirls Seven). Let us know what you think about the new framework around inclusive learning environments and culturally responsive practices. While the project associated with the literature review has recently ended, the research-based SciGirls Strategies will continue to be used widely within our SciGirls 200-partner network and the National Girls Collaborative project and Space Science Institute’s STAR Library program, STAR Net. We look forward to connecting with you. Let us know if these strategies resonate with the youth you are working with. --Rita and Niki

     
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    Ateng' Ogwel
    Bernard Yett
  • Icon for: Ateng' Ogwel

    Ateng' Ogwel

    Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 03:48 p.m.

    Rita,

    Thanks for sharing your work and the vision to empower girls in sciences. This is quite relevant in many contexts, where female participation in STEM is low at all levels of education and in STEM occupations.

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 17, 2021 | 05:49 p.m.

    Thank you Ateng' - Yes, we hope that they are useful in many contexts, schools ,museums, informal education, as there are still so many fields in which girls and women are underrepresented! We did a series of role models in highly non-traditional fields you might find interesting. Check out Real Women, Real Jobs

  • Icon for: Stephen Uzzo

    Stephen Uzzo

    Facilitator
    Chief Scientist
    May 11, 2021 | 09:29 a.m.

    Thanks Rita, this work is so important! Viewing your video clip immediately brought to mind that the strategies you describe are how science is REALLY done, rather than the way it is taught in school. For instance, real science is nearly always collaborative, and the science enterprise is a community of people who work together to build science knowledge. Everyone of any gender and ethnic background can benefit from these ideas. I know the literature review has ended but have you given thought as to how to address science in an era where we value discourse around gender equity being much more complex than boys and girls, acknowledging that defining gender is not so simple anymore and not all students are cis-gender in terms of identity?

  • Icon for: Niki Becker

    Niki Becker

    Co-Presenter
    STEM Media and Education Specialist
    May 11, 2021 | 11:28 a.m.

    Thank you, Stephen! I’m Niki, the SciGirls STEM Media & Education Specialist. We agree that everyone of any gender and ethnic background can benefit from these ideas. Though the research study was specifically done on girls, we did take this into account when updating our strategies. SciGirls does not discriminate based on gender identity, gender expression, or sex assigned at birth. SciGirls resources, which are culturally relevant to all girls can advance gender sensitivity among educators. With this awareness, educators can recognize and avoid the unconscious behaviors that often contribute to climates unfavorable for youth in STEM classrooms or activities.


     

     
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    Laura Seifert
  • Icon for: Billy Spitzer

    Billy Spitzer

    Facilitator
    PI
    May 11, 2021 | 09:31 a.m.

    Rita,

    I found your use of research-based strategies across the SciGirls TV show, website and educational materials very compelling -- and the way that you have kept them updated with recent research and a culturally responsive approach. I was wondering about how these strategies could be more broadly tested and disseminated in other informal learning contexts -- your video and website are certainly a great start, but I was curious if you had additional thoughts about this. 

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 11, 2021 | 12:56 p.m.

    Hi Billy, 

    Great question. Our informal educational partners are very diverse and include museums, science centers, libraries, universities and community-based organizations. We also have partners in schools nationwide and locally in Minnesota (a cohort of 15+ high schools). We developed a short-course in partnership with St. Catherine University as part of an ITEST and have some learnings that will be published this year around that effort, using the strategies in a more formal environment. The strategies were once used to design a museum exhibit!  We also share the strategies widely with our NASA partners through the MIE (NASA Museum and Informal Education Alliance) and through a new partnership with the Space Science Institute's STAR Library Network (STAR Net). The latter project is being evaluated as part of that work. Our next season, SciGirls in Space, is funded by NASA and will look at how the strategies can be used to support NASA-themed STEM programs. We are also about to begin another adjacent season in the National Parks and that work is sure to be very interesting, we are matching NPS women professionals with girl-serving programs to act as role models and lead girls on citizen science projects at the parks.

    We also have a companion project called CEREBROedu that integrates these practices through funding from the NIH SEPA program for Latinx youth and families. There is a video about that project in this year's showcase. https://stemforall2021.videohall.com/presentations/2172.   You can learn more at https://www.cerebroedu.org/.

    Finally, you can find all of our research and evaluation at informalscience.org and on the TPT STEM Evaluation page: http://www.scigirlsconnect.org/evaluations/.

    We have companion guides for educators around Engaging Latinx Families,  for STEM professionals to engage with girls, Role Model Strategies, and a Family Guide to Engaging Girls in STEM. Find them at http://www.scigirlsconnect.org/!

     

     
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    Bernard Yett
  • Icon for: Billy Spitzer

    Billy Spitzer

    Facilitator
    PI
    May 12, 2021 | 10:05 a.m.

    Thanks Rita, it sounds like you have some great partner networks and related projects to share your work with field!

  • Icon for: Paige Evans

    Paige Evans

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 06:46 p.m.

    Rita,

    This is a great project!  Thank you for sharing this video.  I like the six steps listed and will definitely check out the resources.  Well done!!!

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 12, 2021 | 09:38 a.m.

    Thanks for tuning in Paige! Lots of equity-focused resources at http://www.scigirlsconnect.org/. In addition, you can find us at PBS Learning Media, a somewhat unsung resource for educators across the nation, many which include media.

  • Icon for: Paige Evans

    Paige Evans

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 10:53 a.m.

    Thanks Rita!

  • May 12, 2021 | 01:15 a.m.

    This is great! In my experience mentoring girls, they often respond really well to honesty about the struggles that come with being a woman in science, rather than just saying "girls can do anything!" so I love the points "empower girls to embrace struggles" and "encourage girls to challenge stereotypes". I also often hear from girls that they're worried about being traditionally feminine in science, since often women adapt to the norm men have created in science (i.e. less colorful, no dressing up), so the use of so many colors and diverse women role models is so important I think! 

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 12, 2021 | 09:45 a.m.

    Yes, we have found this in the research too! That is you are honest about the challenges, girls have more persistence. This is often not understood, and if girls do not learn how to embrace struggle and combat stereotypes they may fall out of the already leaky pipeline. 

    Thank you for your other comment -- it is so true. Girls’ identities are shaped by how they see themselves and how others see them in multiple spaces, including in-school and out-of-school, across intersecting cultural characteristics, and in relationship to concepts of femininity. Media representation (e.g., X Files' Dana Scully and Temperance Brennan from "Bones" --and SciGirls!) can help disrupt those gender norms which may lead some girls to doubt their sense of belonging in STEM.

  • Icon for: Laura Seifert

    Laura Seifert

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 12, 2021 | 02:36 p.m.

    Just want to give a shout out to our SciGirls partners! With their help we were able to incorporate the SciGirls Strategies into the physical science modules we developed in our partnership with 4-H. We think your resources are amazing! Thank you for helping every day volunteers adopt these research-based practices to engage girls in STEM. 

     
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    Steven Worker
  • Icon for: Niki Becker

    Niki Becker

    Co-Presenter
    STEM Media and Education Specialist
    May 12, 2021 | 05:25 p.m.

    Thank you, Laura! That's so wonderful to hear!

     
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    Steven Worker
  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    Facilitator
    Senior Scientist, Director, Associate Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 09:11 a.m.

    I think we can adapt the strategies that you have articulated and the resources that you have shared in so many varied contexts.  I can connect the dots between what you found working to engage young girls in informal STEM learning and the strategies that work to engage minoritized students in STEM college classes or research experiences.

    Can you say more about how strategy #3 (Empower girls to embrace struggle, overcome challenges, and increase self-confidence in STEM) works in practice? Specifically, how do you support girls in developing a growth mindset?  So many times in college classrooms I’ve seen students encounter their first struggle (usually the first test in a science or math class) and the student’s response is to disengage or “stick their head in the sand”.  How do we move them from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 13, 2021 | 10:45 a.m.

    Hi Nickolay - This was such a good question I reached out to other members of our team and hope to have some additional advice for you on this topic Stay tuned! But for starters --

    The tips are below from our equity guide on this topic. These focus on helping girls/youth be comfortable bringing their authentic selves to their work in STEM. This aligns with our framework of using culturally responsive practices and designing a STEM for All inclusive and welcoming learning environment. You can read more in the full guide found here: http://www.scigirlsconnect.org/scigirls-strategies-engage-girls-stem/

    The pressure of trying to "fit in," to be like the boys (or like the "good" STEM students) can work against the development of a positive STEM identity as this requires a sense of belonging. I also recommend the use of diverse role models and mentors who come from different backgrounds, cultures and pathways. Finally, I once heard this and it stuck with me: FAIL just stands for First Attempt at Learning!

    We have some videos for educators called the SciGirls Snapshots which may be of help to you. They can be found here: https://vimeopro.com/user10550772/scigirls-snapshots.

    Below are our strategies for building a growth mindset:

    Help girls focus on and value the process of learning by supporting their strategies for problem solving and letting them know their skills can improve through practice. Support girls to develop a growth mindset—the belief that intelligence can develop with effort and learning. 

    1. Provide examples of what STEM looks like for professionals. Help girls understand the stereotypical STEM professional (working alone on a computer or in a lab) is not what many people experience in their own work lives.

    2. Incorporate materials, images, and content that counter stereotypes about who does STEM. For example, display posters of diverse women and highlight those whose work benefits the community.

    3. Provide opportunities for girls to work together, support each other, and connect with STEM-minded peers.

    4. Point out that doing STEM and being a STEM person does not contradict how girls see themselves or their aspirations for the future.

    Also the Carol Dweck Self-Theories book is worth the read!

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 13, 2021 | 11:02 a.m.

    Hi Nickolay – Here are some resources from our HS course for educators in Minnesota, Gender Equitable Teaching Strategies (an ITEST project). Check out the link. Courtesy of Dr. Siri Anderson from St. Catherin University our Co-PI.

    Another strategy that works is to teach students about the patterns that have been identified and get them to be a little bit angry about the ways in which girls are taught to question their abilities.  This is part of the empower girls to embrace struggle strategy. I have had fun in teaching tween girls computer science content with teaching them things to say when they have a problem, e.g. silly voice "Oh good, another chance to learn!" Role models telling their own stories of overcoming challenges are useful. And learning to turn to one another to help when the going gets tough is a useful approach.

    • Teach girls that working through problems and having experiments fail is a normal part of the scientific and engineering process.
    • Provide time and space for girls to grapple with and process ideas before stepping in to provide support and direction.
    • Ask questions that get at the process of learning rather than a finished product (for example, how did you get to that answer? or how did you decide what step to do next? or I like how you connected your learning to this activity).
    • Provide feedback on things girls can control—such as process (problem solving, critical thinking, information processing, communicating results), strategies (trying new approaches to solve problems, reverse engineering, switching perspective, collaborations), and behaviors (effort, persistence, challenge seeking).
  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 13, 2021 | 12:46 p.m.

    Our GETS course instructor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Barb Billington, reviewed her videos and shared this for you:

    • I do address "growth mindset" in the Role Model video.
    • And, although it's not mentioned directly in the Designing Groupwork and Respectful Conversations video, many aspects of the growth mindset are present in that one too.

     

  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    Facilitator
    Senior Scientist, Director, Associate Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 07:02 p.m.

    Thanks, Rita!  This is very helpful.  I looked through some of the material that you shared here and there is much more to to do.  I am grateful that the videos and the discussions remain accessible in the  archives for the annual events.  They have been an incredible resource over the years.  Best of luck with the important work that you and your team are doing!

  • Icon for: Daniel Zietlow

    Daniel Zietlow

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2021 | 05:33 p.m.

    Such an awesome project!  Also working in science filmmaking, I've drawn a lot on y'all's work and really appreciate everything you have created.  Definitely looking forward to seeing your new work with NASA and NPS.

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 17, 2021 | 03:55 p.m.

    Thanks, Daniel! We really appreciate hearing how our work has been integrated into other projects! Heading over to check out your video!

  • Icon for: Daniel Zietlow

    Daniel Zietlow

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2021 | 04:32 p.m.

    Thanks!  We've spent a lot of time reading through y'all's engagement strategies for tractive video.  We've been trying to produce a different kids science show focused on community knowledge and the outdoors.

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Ekeoba

    Jacqueline Ekeoba

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 05:02 p.m.

    I love SciGirls! How have you managed to keep girls engaged in STEM learning during the pandemic? 

    Also, I wanted to invite to view an informal STEM experience done at University of Houston: https://videohall.com/p/2031

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 17, 2021 | 05:52 p.m.

    Hi Jacqueline,

    Thanks for the shout out! It's been a difficult year for our educational outreach programs, but some have pivoted to virtual and shared those learning with others through cohosted webinars. Production had to wait until it was safe to film with tweens and amateurs, but we look forward to two new series in the works: SciGirls in Space (funded by NASA) and SciGirls in the National Parks (funded by the NSF).  Thanks for the link to your video! I am a graduate of the University of Houston, BTW. ;-)

  • Icon for: Rita Karl

    Rita Karl

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
    May 17, 2021 | 05:56 p.m.

    So wonderful to see how you were able to pivot to virtual and reach so many students, including girls and girls of color.

  • Icon for: James Callahan

    James Callahan

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2021 | 10:08 p.m.

    Thank you SciGirls team.  You do such essential work and what a great video!

    A couple of related questions:

    1.) Are your program and promoted and shared at large scale STEM events? 

     Examples of mass scale STEM events our Mobile Climate Science Labs program takes part in are the US Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC -- 350,000 attending. And the Bay Area Science Festival in San Francisco. You would be great at the festivals! (We share booths with similar-in-nature programs all the time) But, perhaps you take part primarily in the Twin Cities area?  

    Naturally, the giant in-person STEM events are on hold currently.  We all went remote and/or virtual this last year.  However, the in-person events are likely to become possible again not too long from now.

    SciGirls would be great to be featured!

     

    Question #2.) Do you have a way to connect with teams of girls (young women) who use the SciGirls materials?

    Take for instance the SciGirls Go Green activity book.  Activity #2.

    http://www.scigirlsconnect.org/wp-content/uploa...

    Looking at the energy efficiency of different types of light bulbs.  Do you work with green teams or climate clubs?  A team of our students, based in Washington DC and who are mostly girls in middle school, is doing nationally prominent work that closely relates to this activity.

    Climate Club DC middle school students do energy efficiency surveys of the lighting of the most famous buildings in Washington DC.  The Smithsonian Museums, the White House, government buildings as well as local schools. Videos are made of their work.  They are actively working at the community level to make their city (Washington DC), more energy efficient. Part of reducing the carbon footprint of the city.

    Is that something that might interest SciGirls?  Featuring teams of leaders who would inspire others.

    Wanting to explore possibilities of collaboration with middle school students such as the young woman who narrates our STEM for All Video Showcase video.

    Thank you!

     
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    James Callahan
  • Icon for: Niki Becker

    Niki Becker

    Co-Presenter
    STEM Media and Education Specialist
    May 18, 2021 | 10:42 a.m.

    Thank you, James!

    Yes! We do attend larger events when we are able to do so. We’ve attended the US Science and Engineering Festival in the past, as well as other STEM Education and professional development conferences. We have a network of over 200 SciGirls educators and trainers around the country who attend events, give presentations, and hold programs for youth in a variety of settings.

    Educators around the country are asked to complete a program survey once they’ve run SciGirls programs with youth. Since 2011, we’ve reached over 100,000 youth through these SciGirls programs. These programs vary from afterschool to week long summer camps, to weekend events, and so much more.

    We are always happy to share stories of girls and women in STEM doing good things for their communities. Please feel free to reach out to me at nbecker@tpt.org to explore more ideas.

     

     
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    James Callahan
  • Icon for: Natalie Stapert

    Natalie Stapert

    K-12 Teacher
    May 18, 2021 | 08:29 a.m.

    My daughter loves the SciGirls and watches every week!  It's something that we enjoy doing together.  I applaud the way that SciGirls has lived out an inclusive, anti-racist mission for many years, and the six strategies have been really effective in promoting girls in STEM at my school.  Our Climate Club (you can find us on YouTube or Twitter @ClimateClubDC or view our website https://sites.google.com/lowellschool.org/clima...) is 90% female.  The girls use infrared cameras to detect energy use and energy waste in our school and in the community, and then they use that information to advocate for changes in energy practices.  They also take the equipment to science festivals in order to teach the public about the connection between energy use and climate.  We would love to support the work of SciGirls directly. Where can I find information about becoming one of your partner schools?  

     
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    James Callahan
  • Icon for: Niki Becker

    Niki Becker

    Co-Presenter
    STEM Media and Education Specialist
    May 18, 2021 | 10:27 a.m.

    Hello Natalie,

    Thank you (and your daughter) for watching SciGirls! All of SciGirls resources (videos and activities) are free to download and use in your Climate Club program at www.scigirlsconnect.org. We currently do not have an official partner program, but we hope to do that again! You can stay up to date on partner opportunities via our newsletter (Sign up via www.scigirlsconnect.org/. Newsletter is about mid page). I'm also happy to chat about other ways we can help your school use SciGirls materials. Please feel free to reach out to me at nbecker@tpt.org. Thank you for your interest in SciGirls!

     
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    James Callahan
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