06 April 2007

scotland thoughts pt 2

on the reactions of girls to the workshops:

The first 2-day workshop went wonderfully. Afterwards, the kids all wrote personal little essays about their thoughts. Two of the girls (out of the 30 total kids) specifically said that they loved the workshops and had never thought science could be so fun. I was especially excited at this, because the girls who said this had shown real understanding about mechanisms and the building. In fact, one of these two is one I'd say understood things best out of the whole class, both this workshop and the shorter three hour one I did with this same bunch back in February. She seemed really keen to design and build things, coming up with the idea of making a track and having a pulley through a straw to pull Jack up the hill.

More generally, the girls in all the workshops seemed to be involved and engaged and on talking to them, most seemed to have a reasonably good idea of what they were doing and what the group was doing. In all-girl groups, it was good to see that the girls had to make things. In mixed groups, sometimes it ended up that the girls did the crafty part and the boys did the mechanisms, but that wasn't always the case. Particularly, in one group, the boys were the ones doing all the crafty bits and the girls were working on the structure and the mechanism to make a disco ball drop down from the sky. Another mixed group was more united, with everyone doing bits here and there. Some doing structure and would then start decorating the structure. This group (made a jewelry box) had a very mixed distribution of tasks. The group with the flying car also had a nice way of dividing up things evenly. There was one girl in one of the classes who was great. At the final class discussion, she really asked a lot of questions and was happy to talk about things. Definitely no shyness there.

Many of the teachers and helpers who came along commented that quite often the groups with girls and the all-girl groups tended to make a better thing overall. More care was paid to the making of it, and getting it to look how they wanted. I had thought this myself, so it was good to hear this from some source other than myself.


  1. wow it's dark in here now.... when are you back?


  2. i'm back from scotland already
    but now i'm in north carolina seeing my dad.

    and, yeah, dark in here now. i was in a mood to change things up.

  3. Okay, so when are you back from North Carolina? I'll be in Boston 16-20(ish) April