SciGirls Seven tip: “Girls enjoy hands-on, open-ended projects and investigations.”

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  • This is a particularly tricky tip to navigate. There is “a fine line between I need to get this done for a particular reason in this amount of time” and “ I want the girl to have as much a say in this and have it as open-ended as possible.”
    • As the teacher, you have to find a balance, activities that don’t have to be completely open-ended or completely teacher led. Act as a facilitator rather than as a leader or expert. 
  • Encourage groups to share their plans with you, but emphasize that everyone is learning and discovering together.
  • “Try an activity without step-by-step directions.”
  • “Pose questions using ‘what’ or ‘how.’”
    • “Instead of, ‘Is noise considered a pollutant?’ try, ‘How can you test whether noise is a pollutant?’”
  • “Resist the urge to intervene”
    • We tend to rescue girls and let boys struggle! 
    • Part of fixing this is answering questions with questions.
  • “Encourage girls to suggest approaches to a problem”
    • Have them talk through problems, labeling and identifying things they understand. Resist answering the question, ‘Is this right?’
      • “Highlight unexpected results and suggest ways for girls to investigate further by asking, ‘How could we figure that out?’ or, ‘What do you think?’”
  • Let girls communicate their findings using a variety of techniques relevant to their lives: 
    • poetry, music, posters, plays, slideshows, 2D- and 3D-models, drawings, etc.
  • Use your girls’ language to reiterate their points. 
    • Use a board or large sheet of paper to document each person’s participation.
    • Write the idea as you hear it—don’t reword unless you have permission from the speaker. 
    • When meanings are unclear, restate what the girls said in their own words first, and then ask them to expand on their thinking with, “Tell me more” or, “What makes you think that?”
  • Ask girls to write personal narratives relating to a particular time or place and share these in small or large groups.
    • A journal or blog (for older girls) provides an avenue for reflection on learning.”
  • All SciGirls Seven tips are “Girl Focused & Boy Friendly!”