Wonderwise: Motivate Young Girls to Develop an Interest in the Sciences
For this reason, it is important for society to provide options that are beneficial. Schools need to introduce role models that demonstrate traits that are good for society in general: hardworking, creative, critical thinking, and moral. These are traits that are of good value to society. Careers that carry these values are especially worthy of advertising to the youngest members of society. A career in science is such an example. Science requires perseverance. The natural laws of this world are not served on a platter. These need to be pursued. Science requires hard work. To find the correct answers, a scientist needs to design well controlled experiments. This requires creativity and critical thinking. And as in any pursuit of truth, a scientist must be honest. Faithfulness to truth is the highest moral imperative. Providing scientists as role models to young minds is one of the reasons why science education must be given to primary school children. A career in science must be given as a possible option to children while they are still finding where their interests lie. One simply cannot expect a child to develop an interest out of nothing. A blueprint is necessary.
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln has a program called 4-H Youth Development. "4-H is a community of young people, ages 5-19, across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills." More than ten years ago, with financial support from the United States National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4-H Youth Development developed the Wonderwise program:
The program consists of a series of nine learning kits, each focusing on a contemporary woman scientist and her field of scientific study. The kits invite students to take a “virtual” science field trip with these scientists and learn about their lives and their work. Each kit contains:The nine fields covered by this program can be seen in the following figure seen in the home page of the Wonderwise program:
- A 15-20 minute "virtual field trip" video profiling the scientist and showing her actively engaged in her work.
- An interactive CD-ROM containing a biography of the scientist, and downloadable, printable versions of activity sheets in English and Spanish.
- Five hands-on, inquiry-based science activities related to the scientist's field of study, with assessment materials and links to National Science Education Standards.
|This figure was downloaded from http://wonderwise.unl.edu/index.htm|
Brenda Ballachey, Sea Otter Biologist:This kit features Brenda Ballachey, a scientist who studies sea otters and their survival after an oil spill. By experiencing the work of a wildlife biologist, and then conducting investigations of their own, students learn about science topics ranging from animal behavior to fragile ecosystems.
Peg Bolick, Pollen Detective:Margaret (Peg) Bolick is a scientist who collects pollen in ancient bone beds and takes daily pollen counts for physicians. Students will learn, among other things, about archeological investigation and solving medical mysteries.
Jannalee Caldwell, Rainforest Ecologist: Janalee Caldwell, a research ecologist, investigates poisonous frogs and other inhabitants of a Brazilian rainforest. Students will participate in activities designed to illustrate scientific methodology as well as learn about the intricate layers of life in the rainforest community.
Judy Sakanari, Parasite Sleuth:Judy Sakanari is a parasitologist who looks for parasites in fish markets, restaurants, and other places where food is sold and handled. Students will explore topics ranging from the lifecycle of parasites to the links between parasites and our food supply.
Fatimah Jackson, African Plant Explorer: Biological Anthropologist Fatimah Jackson explores the world of plants and their uses as food and medicine. Students will study the chemicals found in plants and learn how plants spread themselves from place to place.
Carmen Cid, Urban Ecologist:Urban ecologist Carmen Cid studies urban wetlands and how to keep them healthy. Through the activities in this kit, students will learn about wetlands, watersheds, and the efforts made to preserve plant and animal diversity in urban areas.
Adriana Ocampo, Space Geologist:As a space geologist, Adriana Ocampo studies craters and meteorites. Students will learn about topics ranging from dinosaur extinction to crater formation.
Tolani Francisco, Vet Detective:Tolani Francisco is a vet whose research takes her to Native American reservations in New Mexico to study the health of bison and elk. In this kit, students will learn about topics ranging from animal diseases to herd management.
Cathy Burson, Genetic Counselor:As a genetic counselor, Cathy Burson investigates diseases caused by genes and searches for ways to treat these disorders. Students will learn about a range of genetic topics, from cells to DNA.
|Figure downloaded from Deanna S. Acklie's PhD Dissertation, page 99|
When I grow up I want to be like Jane Goodall because she studies monkeys, chimpanzees. And she helps animals. And I want to be like Tolani because she’s a vet.