This post, part of our Walk This Way series, shares The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. This post provides a glimpse into Kim Collazo’s class.
As an elementary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teacher, my passion lies in helping ALL students develop a love of STEM and the ability to use the engineering design process to solve real world problems. However, I am especially interested in opening those doors for our young girls.
Welcome to Women’s History Month!
Since it is March, the month where we intentionally focus on building up our young women, I thought I would share how The Walking Classroom has helped the girls I work with learn more about STEM possibilities and how these can impact their future plans.
According to the US Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at a rate of 17% while other occupations are seeing growth rates around 9.8%. In addition, The National Science Foundation has stated that “to succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”
Women in STEM
However, a large amount of recent research shows that the majority of our girls do not pursue courses in the STEM areas beyond middle school or fill these roles in our society in the same numbers as males.
There are many reasons for this disparity, but research points to several that are prominent. Girls often don’t see a connection between classroom learning and careers they would like to pursue. Deep-seeded societal biases don’t support women in these roles. Finally, there is a lack of exposure to female role models in STEM careers.
The Walking Classroom to the Rescue
The Walking Classroom has really helped me address those issues in ways no other instruction does. In addition to being part of our STEM Walking Club, which many of our girls really enjoy and bond during, and the health and brain benefits of walking while learning, many of the podcasts focus on amazing women in STEM careers.
The girls get to hear firsthand about the history, lives, and careers of many women they may have interest in emulating. Following our walks, we often have robust discussions about the early lives of the featured women, and how their interests in science, technology, engineering and math have not only helped them attain meaningful careers, but allowed them to impact the lives of others.
According to recent studies, this final point is often key. Girls, by nature, tend to be drawn to pursuits that impact the lives of others or society as a whole in positive, empathetic, and compassionate ways.
Some Possible Podcasts to Support You
If you would like to spark the interest of your girls and have impactful discussions about women in STEM, check out this list of Walking Classroom podcasts not only during the month of March, but all year long!
- Rachel Carson – Marine Biologist, Environmentalist, Advocate (5-#8, STEM-#37, Complete-#157)
- Dr. Inez Fung – Climate Scientist (5-#9, STEM-#38)
- Clara Barton – Civil War Nurse and Founder of the American Red Cross (4-#14, STEM-#39, Complete-#94)
- Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell – First Female Doctor and Women in Science Advocate (4-#15, STEM-#40, Complete-#155)
- Liz Baird – Director of Education at the NC Museum of Natural Science (4-#91, 5-#97, STEM-#47)
- Chris Goforth – Aquatic Entomologist and Citizen Science Advocate (4-#96, 5-#102, STEM-#55)
- Dr. Stephanie Schuttler – Mammologist (4-#101, 5-#107, STEM-#57)
- Dr. Julia Stevens – Microbial Ecologist (4-#102, 5-#108, STEM-#58)
- Dr. Julie Horvath – Evolutionary Genomicist (4-#98, 5-#104, STEM-#60)
- Dr. Julie Urban – Evolutionary Biologist (4-#105, 5-#111, STEM-#61)