L e s s o n 8 (SCIENCE, HISTORY, CAREER READINESS) 139 J o u r n e y s i n F i l m : H i d d e n F i g u r e s The Women of Science Enduring Understandings • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are instrumental in solving a wide variety of real-world problems. • Women (and other marginalized groups) experience disparities in access to quality STEM education; as a result, they have historically been underrepresented in STEM disciplines—and still are. • Access to innovative programming can increase the percentages of women who enter the STEM workforce. • Students can inspire interest and encouragement for girls to consider pursuing STEM careers. • Essential Questions • Why are women (and other marginalized groups) underrepresented in STEM disciplines? • Why do some girls face challenges with having access to STEM education? • How does gender bias relate to STEM proficiency in women? • How can gender stereotypes relating to science and scientists be culturally challenged? • Who are the women who have become leaders in STEM fields? • What skills and educational requirements might be needed to pursue a career in a STEM discipline? • What kinds of STEM opportunities are available to women? • What strategies might successfully encourage girls to explore opportunities in STEM fields? • How can students help ignite interest in STEM disciplines for girls?
Notes to the Teacher Space science has changed dramatically since the days of the “human computers” and so has the role of women in technology. The stories of women astronauts such as Christa McAuliffe and Sally Ride are well known, but what about the women (and men) behind the scenes? What opportunities are available to women today—not just in the field of space science, but also in all STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? What STEM or STEAM (STEM plus the arts) educational paths should they follow to train for such a career? Who are the women who have become leaders in this area? In Part 1 of this lesson, students will discuss the role of women in science and explore the disparity in representation between men and women in STEM disciplines. They will examine the underrepresentation of women in STEM as a form of social injustice. They will then research women in STEM fields and share their findings through posters demonstrating the discipline, type of work, and achievements of these women in their particular fields of work. They will then share their work as part of a community art gallery designed to challenge gender stereotypes relating to science and scientists and to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM disciplines. Some preparatory work and student access to computers with Internet capabilities are needed for this portion of the lesson.
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