Throughout history, women have made significant contributions to science despite being underrepresented in the field. Even today, women represent only a third of all scientific researchers globally, and less than 4% of Nobel Prizes for science have ever been awarded to women.
So how do we inspire the next generation of young girls to reach their full potential in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields? We offer rich scientific experiences to foster a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world.
Here are some tips for how to approach teaching preschool girls about women in science:
- Start with their interests. Preschool girls may not yet have a specific interest in science, but they likely have interests that could lead to scientific inquiry. For example, if a girl is fascinated by insects, introduce her to entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, a renowned illustrator and naturalist who studied insects.
- Use age-appropriate materials. Preschoolers have a limited attention span, so use materials that are engaging and age-appropriate. Start with a picture book, video, or a hands-on activity that illustrates the work of women in science.
- Focus on diverse role models. It’s important to highlight a diverse range of women in science from different cultural backgrounds, races, and abilities. This helps all girls see themselves reflected in these role models and feel empowered to pursue their interests in science.
- Incorporate hands-on activities. Preschoolers learn best through hands-on activities and exploration. Plan science experiments or activities that allow girls to experience science in a fun and engaging way, such as building a simple machine or observing a chemical reaction.
- Keep it fun and playful. Learning about women in science should be fun and playful. Plan a science-themed dress-up day, science-themed scavenger hunt, or even science-themed parties that celebrate the accomplishments of women in science.
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th, we would like to introduce you to the very first woman ever to not only win a Nobel Prize but to win it twice – once for Chemistry and once for Physics … Marie Curie!
Marie Curie was one of the most influential scientists of all time. Teach your child about Marie Curie and celebrate her groundbreaking discoveries by reading a book about her, downloading our free printable, and then making a chemical reaction by mixing up some potions (who doesn’t love watching the way baking soda reacts with vinegar?!).
Other Women in Science:
- Ada Lovelace: The world’s first computer programmer
- Mary Anning: Known as the greatest fossil hunter of all time
- Eugenie Clark: Nicknamed “The Shark Lady,” her research changed the way we think about sharks
- Mae C. Jemison: The first African American woman to travel to space
Books to Inspire:
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
- Princess and the Petri Dish by Sue Fliess
- Cece Loves Science by Kimberly Derting
- Women in Science: Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Here’s to inspiring our young girls to explore their interests in science and technology and creating a foundation for lifelong learning and curiosity.
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