An article in the publication Psychological Science showed that in test scores across 67 countries girls performed as well as or better than boys on science in almost every country examined, and girls were just as capable of college-level science and math application. Yet only a quarter of STEM workers are women. The numbers are even more disappointing if we are looking at women of color; for example, of the women receiving doctoral degrees in the sciences only 3% are Latinas and only 4% are African Americans. The problem is clearly not one of their capability, but one of their visibility.
At H2O for Life, we have developed a toolkit to help educators encourage Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Our lessons examine several prominent women in the STEAM fields and what they have done to help address issues related to water. It includes the famed chemist Agnes Pockels who pioneered work on water tension, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai who founded the Green Belt Movement, the engineer Godliver Businge who is doing work as the regional director of technology for the Global Women’s Water Initiative, the artist Susan Hoffman Fishman who is making art that raises awareness for global water issues, entrepreneur Cynthia Koenig who is creating ways for her business to help people accesses water in a simpler way, and 2015 Google Science Fair winner Lalita Prasida who created a way to filter water from recycled corn cobs. These lessons demonstrate how women have been making a difference and can show your students the diverse representation that they need to see while teaching them important academic lessons!
There are six complete impactful lessons for free! You can just sneak these lessons into your regular curriculum individually or maybe you want to have a Women in STEAM week or maybe you just want to share these as an occasional fun one-off lesson, whatever it is we are hoping you take this chance to teach your students about the work women and people of color have done and are doing to address global water issues. Who knows, maybe the next person to make a big step in solving the global water crisis is a girl in your class just waiting to see someone like her doing just that and for someone like you to tell her that she can.
You can find the lessons at the links here: