Motivating girls to do science

Cathy Quinones quinones at
Sat Mar 23 21:21:49 EST 1996

In message <4j000l$b26 at> -
mgc at
 Cole) writes:
:>I can only speak from my personal experience, nobody motivated me to do
:>science, I loved it from the begining.  But, bad teachers made me not want
:>to take any more high school classes. 
:>I can remember one science teachers who actually lost my assignments on a
:>few ocassions and expected me to redo them plus some.  Made me furious. 
:>And I must say most of my science books were boring, and the labs (we spent
:>a whole year on the metric system) were stupid.   

I still remember my biology teacher, who was wrong a couple times.  Once I
corrected me and he said I'd been watching too many cartoons.  Dweeb... I may
have to go looking for him sometime and tell him again ;)

:>If you want to make science interesting, take it out of the classroom. 
:>Look at an anthill.  Ask students how they would study ants in this
:>situation.  If you are studying volcanoes show them newsreal pictures of
:>individuals going down into craters, tell them what sort of questions they
:>expect to get answered.  Maybe you can ask them what they would like to be
:>when they grow up and relate the science to that.  I know I always said I
:>wanted to be a Zoologist (and guess what I did.) Too bad nobody in those
:>years cared. 

You should check out the work of Sheila Tobias, "They are not dumb, they are
different: stalking the second tier" and "Revitalizing undergraduate science:
why some things work and most don't."  The first book in particular talks
about things that turn students (including women and minorities) away from
science.  Both books are big on pointing out that there's some "teacher-proof"
students out there (who will follow their call to science come hell or high
water and in spite of bad teachers and bad experiences), but that there's also
a large pool of capable students that get turned off science (or never get
turned on to science) and what we can do to reel them in.  It seems like a key
component (surprise, surprise) is having excellent teachers who care and make
science exciting.  Hands-on research also helps a lot.  I won't attempt to
summarize these book here, but it's certainly an interesting read, for
example, when the idea that "scientists are born, the ones that are going to
make it will make it no matter what" [one that's cherished by many scientists]
is examined.

Cathy Quinones			quinones at = bird care info
Poicephalus rule!!

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