February 25, 2021 is Girl Day!
Rounding out the end of Engineers Week (Feb. 21–27) is Girl Day—a worldwide campaign to engage girls in engineering. Thousands of people—engineers, educators, and others—act as role models, facilitate engineering activities, and educate girls about how engineers change our world.
Key findings from DiscoverE’s new report, Despite the Odds, found that the simple formula, below, helps girls develop an interest in engineering, build their confidence in their problem-solving skills, and create a STEM identity.
You can make a difference in a girls’ life.
On Girl Day—and all year ’round!—engage girls in engineering with these four easy steps from DiscoverE:
1. Talk about engineering.
Most kids don’t know any engineers or technicians and they don’t really know what engineers do. This leads them to make interesting assumptions—like engineers sit in a cubicle doing math problems all day. Share what you do! Be sure to tell them about the creative, problem-solving aspects of your work. Check yourself for engineering jargon. Tip: think about how you’d tell a 3rd grader what you do.
2. Do hands-on activities.
Activities that feature the engineering design process and an authentic, real-world challenge are a great way to engage students. They provide you with an opportunity to share how engineers approach a problem, give students an open-ended challenge that allows for an iterative development process, and allows you the chance to make connections to your work.
3. Focus on engineering outputs.
A lot of kids (and their parents) think engineers have to be straight-A students to be a successful engineer. Rather than talk about what course requirements students need, talk about the rewards of being an engineer. Tell them how engineers dream up creative practical solutions and work with other smart, inspiring people to invent, design, and create things that matter.
4. Connect engineering to helping people.
Research shows when engineers share how their work makes a difference in people’s lives, girls (and boys) are more interested in the field. When you describe your work, share more than what you do (e.g., I design satellites). Talk about how your work benefits people or society in general (e.g., I design satellites that help detect draught or are used to predict the weather).
Want to inspire more girls to get involved in engineering? Introduce them to SWENext!
- How to Raise a Female Engineer in 5 Easy Steps
- SWE Signs on to Support “Million Girls Moonshot” STEM Initiative
- Digital Exclusive: Calling All Girls to STEM
- SWE Report Examines Messaging to Tween Girls about Engineering
- “Boolean Girl” Is on a Mission: Teach Girls to Code and Build Electronics
- Podcast: Dr. Kerri Phillips Encourages Girls to “Stay in the Game”
- Getting Girls into Robotics