In Portland, Oregon, school's almost out and here comes the elusive Pacific Northwest sun (we think....!) Your children are excited for the break, but how do you keep them engaged?
Here's five tips to keep them from getting bored and prevent the summer learning slide:
Also, check out Jeannine Atkins' Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, which showcases three real-life scientists (an entomologist, a paleontologist, and an astronomer), who loved science as children themselves.
Check out local science-themed summer camps in your area. Some of our favorites in Portland are:Trackers Northwest: Day and overnight camps for kids and teens, wilderness survival and homesteading outdoor programs for all ages.
While women make up half of the workforce in the United States, they currently hold less than 25 percent of jobs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). To close this gender gap, adults must make these subjects not only cool, but also relatable. STEM careers are achievable, regardless of gender, and women have the power to build a stable, rewarding future.
Inspiring girls to study STEM should start at a young age. However, a lasting impact requires both physical and emotional support from both parents and teachers. It’s more than what you do or say—it’s how you say it. Here are some points to keep in mind:
Let’s face it; movies and television shows rarely depict women in STEM fields. And the few times they do, their appearance is skewed toward “geek” or “sexy scientist.”
However, pop culture is making strides toward accurately representing women in STEM and showing more capable, confident scientists. For example, current middle or high school-aged girls might see themselves in Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson—the characters in Hidden Figures— or even aspire to be them one day. The work of Johnson and her colleagues directly contributed to John Glenn’s space endeavors.
Younger girls might get a burst of inspiration from watching TV shows like Doc McStuffins. The Disney Junior hit features an African-American girl named Dottie who plays veterinarian to her collection of stuffed animals. “Doc” has ignited a few fashion trends as well, most notably her white doctor’s coat and medical tools. Girls can take their Doc (and science) obsession a step further by playing online games and activities.
Conducting experiments, both in the classroom and at home, gives girls the opportunity to explore and question how things actually work. Experiments encourage risk-taking and problem-solving, two skills that improve with practice.
But rather than dictate the project, invite her to select an experiment or activity in a topic of interest. From there, ask questions: Why do you think this happened? What can you do differently next time?
Another way to foster a love of STEM is by visiting science centers and joining hands-on exhibits. The interactive nature of children’s museums encourages discovery and exploration, all while teaching how STEM concepts exist in the world.
Along with hands-on experiments, introduce her to a successful woman currently working in a STEM field. A mentor can help transform the stereotype of the nerdy computer scientist into a more accurate representation of a STEM professional. Depending on her age, a visit to a mentor’s office or lab will paint a more accurate picture of what it looks like to be a woman in a STEM field.
As parents or educators, perhaps the most meaningful action you can take is encouraging your daughter’s interest and participation in science, technology, engineering or math. With that understanding, parents must follow up with questions about math and science classes, and educators should support daily projects and foster curiosity in the classroom.
STEM fields hold tremendous opportunity for women at all stages of life—from childhood education through adulthood. By spurring an interest at a young age, girls have the ability to explore STEM throughout their adolescent years and affirm a lifelong passion. It’s up to parents and educators to support their endeavors and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.
Guest author: Scott Rhodes, Vice Provost of Enrollment
With an 18-year background in higher education, Scott Rhodes leads enrollment and recruitment strategies for Florida Polytechnic University. His responsibilities encompass undergraduate admissions, graduate enrollment and enrollment marketing, financial aid, student records and registration and enrollment market research.
Imagination is fun – it’s responsible for movies, stories, and our very own daydreams. But what if what you imagined was actually a vision of the future?
Inventors tend to think like this. They might see a wheel and invent a bicycle, or a bird and invent a plane. Ada Lovelace saw a calculator and imagined a computer!
Think of the difference between a calculator and a computer. A calculator is useful, sure – especially in math class! But also if you’re building something like a skyscraper, doubling a recipe for baking cakes, shopping at the grocery store, or trying to get a rocket launched into space.
A basic calculator is great for short-cutting math problems, but it doesn’t play music, show videos, or let you draw pictures.
Ada Lovelace imagined and understood a world of computers that was over a century ahead of her time. Let’s learn more about this famous female of computer programming.
Ada Lovelace was born in London, the child of Lord Byron, a famous Romantic poet. However, his marriage to Ada’s mother Annabella was quick and unhappy. They separated a month after Ada’s birth, and Ada would never meet him.
Determined her daughter would not inherit her father’s mood swings and erratic behavior, Annabella immersed Ada in education by the age of four. Particularly subjects that were full of logic, like mathematics. One of her tutors was Mary Somerville, an astronomer!
By the time she was 12, Ada was fascinated with the idea of making a flying apparatus, and toyed with ideas of powered flight.
At a party when she was 17, Ada met “the father of the computer”, Charles Babbage. They talked mathematics and Babbage shared all about his ‘Difference Engine’ that he was making to do calculations. It was basically the first design of a (giant) calculator.
Ada went to his house the next day and was able to see the thing in person. She was hooked. From then on, she and Babbage wrote letters to each other until her death at age 36.
But Babbage was already working on another, better machine before he finished the first one. He called it the ‘Analytical Engine’, and this one could do even more difficult calculations.
He asked an Italian engineer to write an article about it, and enlisted Lovelace to translate it from French to English.
Lovelace did translate it, but had her own thoughts and comments that she added in as Notes. Her additions made the article three times longer than the original! It was published in 1843, and she only initialed it with A.A.L., for her birth name (the name we know now comes from her marriage).
Within these Notes is the very first computer program. She explained (in Note G) the sequence of operations for how a code could be written so the machine could calculate Bernoulli numbers.
Lovelace also mentioned that there was no reason the machine couldn’t also read codes for letters and symbols too, in addition to just numbers. She talked about how it should be able to repeat a series of instructions – something we know as ‘looping’, used in programming today.
But besides offering the very first computer algorithm, Lovelace saw beyond the math. She saw this ‘engine’ theoretically being able to do other functions. That it "might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."
Wait, a machine that could do something other than represent quantities? This was unheard of. Lovelace had just quietly invented the concept of computing.
She said that “the science of operations, as derived from mathematics more especially, is a science of itself, and has its own abstract truth and value.” By 'science of itself' she unwittingly refers to computer science!
She figured that sound, music, text, and pictures could made digital and even manipulated by engines such as these. This was going way beyond just the numbers.
Though her notes were published, Ada Lovelace’s visionary insights were just too big for the rest of the world to comprehend.
It was only about a century later that a book called “Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines” would bring them back into the limelight. This was in 1953, when computer science was just beginning to be explored.
In the ‘70s, the US Department of Defense made a new programming language. A Navy Commander suggested naming it ‘Ada’ in tribute. ‘Ada’ is still used today in everything from space research, to transportation, to healthcare.
So, what do you imagine? Who knows where it could lead!
Thanks to your support, Yellow Scope has been selected as a FedEx Small Business Finalists for 2017. Thank you Yellow Scope community and thank you FedEx!
FedEx will choose 10 winners from the 100 finalists. Winners will receive a combination of grant money (up to $25,000 for Grand Prize winners) and FedEx Office print and business services. FedEx started this grant program four years ago to help small businesses grow. We hope to be among the amazing pool of FedEx small business winners. Click here to watch our video application to learn more about how the FedEx grant will help us grow our business and connect more girls to science.
Our gift to you!
As a thank you to our Yellow Scope community for your votes, we're offering 10% off any order from our online store through Sunday April 23, 2017. Use code FEDEXFINALIST.
At Yellow Scope, we're committed to empowering girls and closing the gender gap in science!
Thank you for supporting us in our mission,
Marcie, Kelly and the Yellow Scope Team
Thanks to your support, Yellow Scope has been named a 2017 American Small Business Champion by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with the support of Sam’s Club.
Together you voted for us more 7000 (!) times - confirming what we already knew - our Yellow Scope community is the best!
SCORE is rewarding us with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, specialized training, publicity, and business mentoring. See the full list of the 102 American Small Business Champions here!
We are now in the running to win one of three additional $25,000 grand prizes! This summer, a judging panel of small business experts will select three Grand Champions from the group of 102 Small Business Champions to be announced September 14 at the SCORE Awards Gala. (Fingers crossed!)
You can help us get closer to this goal by sharing our good news on social media using the #bizchampion hashtag.
In celebration of our Championship win, we're offering 10% off any order from our online store through Monday April 3, 2017. Use code BIZCHAMPION.
At Yellow Scope, we're committed to empowering girls and closing the gender gap in science!
Marcie, Kelly and the Yellow Scope Team
It’s Valentine’s Day! A day all about appreciating the ones we love, which can include giving gifts, having special meals, and spending time together. But none of those would mean as much without a big ol' hug!
Hugs from loved ones and friends make us feel good - we feel more connected and supported. But the benefits don’t stop there.
Science tells us that hugs can actually make us healthier.
For example, hugs make us less stressed. Now, we think of stress as a bad thing, but evolutionarily it’s really quite ingenious. The hormones released during stress help us to be at our peak in fight or flight situations, like running from a lion (back in the old days). Our heart rate increases, blood pressure goes up, muscles get energized, and you even think more clearly.
Most of us aren't trying to escape from lions nowadays. Today stress is more likely to be the day to day worries we carry around with us.
Neurologist Robert Sapolsky says, "For 99 percent of the beasts on this planet, stress is about three minutes of screaming in terror after which it’s either over with or you’re over with. And we turn it on for 30-year mortgages.”
The effects of having our bodies bathed in stress hormones long term are devastating. Along with increased heart rates and prolonged high blood pressure, other nonessential systems get turned off, like your digestion, growth, and notably, your immune system.
When your body is always in high gear, the risks go up for diabetes, digestion issues, heart problems, and susceptibility to illness.
The challenge is to find ways to turn off those stress signals and give our bodies a break. Valentine’s Day is a chance to try out one of the best ways – hugging.
Turns out hugs reduce stress both directly, and psychologically. The benefit of hugs may seem obvious on an emotional level, but let's take a look at the science too:
How would you rate your science knowledge? Think you'd do well on a science quiz? How you answer may depend on whether you are male or female. If you're female, you may think you aren't that good at science.
Is that because boys are better at science than girls? NO!
In fact, women and men (and girls and boys) are both equally capable in all STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
So what's the critical factor? Confidence.
There are many studies showing that women underestimate their abilities in science, and this lack of confidence affects their willingness to pursue STEM subjects and careers. This can start as early as age 6!
A Cornell/Washington State University study gauged confidence in both male and female college students. The students were given a science quiz, but first asked to rate themselves on scientific ability on a scale of 1 to 10. Women said 6.5; men 7.6.
After the quiz, they were asked how well they thought they did. Women said they thought they got 5.8 out of 10 questions right, men figured about 7.1.
So how'd they really do? Turns out, their scores were very close. Women got 7.6; men 7.9.
So what can you do to help boost the confidence of the young girls in your life?
Here are five things we, as parents, can do to set the stage for raising STEM-confident girls.
Okay, this one hit home for us, so we had to start here.
If you've visited a large toy store recently, you'll notice that there are specific "boy" sections and "girl" sections. Girls get pink princess dolls and makeup kits, and boys get connector sets and exploding volcanoes.
Science kits are usually marketed to boys, with pictures of boys on the boxes and a blue color scheme. And they're usually shelved in the boy section of the store.
A simple Google image search for 'science kits for girls' brings up a barrage of beauty labs and spa kits. This kind of messaging tells girls that real science is not for them, and reinforces the idea that science is 'a boy thing'.
These kinds of hands-on toys expose girls to engineering, coding, building and experimenting early, so when girls encounter STEM topics later in school they'll think: "I know that, I can do that, I'm good at that."
So tell girls that science is for them by surrounding them with toys and projects that challenge gender stereotypes.
Sports are a great way to burn energy and develop social skills, but there's another benefit that may not be so obvious. Though winning is the goal, losing can actually be a good thing!
In a world where girls feel pressure to be perfect, learning to shrug off failure can help prepare them for the real world.
Being able to own it when she wins, but knowing that life goes on when she loses, can help her feel less intimidated to take on "hard" subjects, like science and math. If she get the answer wrong, she'll have the grit to try again. No big deal.
After 1972 Title IX legislation, studies showed that girls who played on team sports were more likely to graduate from college, secure a job, and work in traditionally male industries.
Confidence isn't thinking you won't fail, it's not being afraid of set-backs.
Have you seen Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad? The video follows one girl growing up being told "Don't get dirty." "Be careful with that." "Why don't you hand that to your brother." Subtle statements like this can discourage girls from pursuing STEM subjects in school and beyond.
Studies show that both teachers and parents give more attention to boys than girls in math.
And in museums, parents explain science concepts to boys three times more than to girls.
So, take her to your local science museum for some hands-on play. Go out of your way to ask her how many legs that insect has, if she wants to help repair the fence, or to calculate the cost of two boxes of her favorite cereal.
Incorporating math and science into your every day life will build her confidence and show her that she can do it!
Remember that video of British school kids who were asked to draw a firefighter, a surgeon, and a fighter pilot? Of the 66 pictures the kids drew, only 5 of them were women. The children were shocked when a real firefighter, surgeon, and fighter pilot walked in and they were all women!
For girls to think they belong in traditionally male jobs, they need to see women in those jobs. This will help them realize, "If they can do it, I can do it."
Know any female scientists, engineers or FBI agents? Take your child on a tour of their workplace. Or ask them to visit to your child’s classroom to give a presentation.
Reading the stories of real women in science is another great way to expose girls to the important role that women have played in science throughout history. Some great book recommendations:
Don't forget movies and TV shows, too!
Stories about girls solving puzzles, being detectives, and using their brains are popping up everywhere.
Check out comic books like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur...
Anthologies like Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets...
Or shows like Project Mc² (on Netflix), PBS's SciGirls, and the rebooted Magic School Bus (coming soon to Netflix!).
In addition to our new ACIDS, BASES & pH SCIENCE KIT, here are 10 other great STEM and STEAM gifts that have caught our eye this holiday season.
We chose these toys because they're from brands we trust. They're high quality and were created with real science in mind. They'll keep girls inspired and engaged. We think they're the kind of toys kids will come back to again and again. Plus they're all super fun!
Winner of an Oppenheim Platinum Award, this new kit from our friends at GoldieBlox encourages budding engineers to build their own dollhouse – complete with trap doors, bridges and zip-lines!
Ages 6+. $59.99. goldieblox.com
Space-loving girls will go crazy for this giant coloring poster from Pirasta. It’s chock full of aliens, spaceships and robots. Tape it to the wall or spread it out on the floor. Color alone or with friends. Any way you do it, this poster will provide hours of coloring fun for your little astronaut.
All ages. $19.95. pirastanyc.com
From the creators at Little Bits, the new Rule Your Room kit comes with all the bits and instructions for 8 different inventions that allow kids to control their stuff.
Ages 8+. $99.95. littlebits.cc
From the creators of Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer, comes this new story of Ada Twist, a young scientist exploring the world around her. An inspiring story of science, finding your passion and sticking with it, young readers will be inspired to start experimenting too!
Ages 5-8. $17.95 at your local bookstore
Created by female engineering grads from Stanford, Roominate toys encourage girls to design, build and wire their own dollhouses. With Cotton Candy Carnival, kids can build a Ferris wheel or carousel, then add circuits and wires to start them spinning.
Ages 8+. $44.99. roominate.com
We love the artist-designed temporary tattoos from Tattly. The Science Set contains eight different designs including a DNA strand, a microscope and a beaker set.
All ages. $7.50. tattly.com
The new Happy Atoms science kit from Thames & Kosmos allows kids to build molecules, then snap photos and use an app to identify the molecule and learn about its properties. Pretty cool!
Ages 9+. $159. Preorder at indiegogo.com.
For the young chemist in your life! This set of wooden building blocks includes 20 six-sided blocks displaying each of the 118 elements from the Periodic Table. Hand made in the USA.
Ages 2+. $32.95. uncommongoods.com
The Minecraft fan in your family will love the Piper computer kit. The kit encourages kids to build their own computer and learn about electronics - all while playing a Minecraft mod!
Ages 7-13. $299. playpiper.com
We love these award-winning dolls from Lottie, designed with bodies based on an average nine-year-old girl. With inspiring background stories, this collection encourages girls to learn about science - from butterflies to astronomy to paleontology!
Ages 3+. $9.95 - 24.95. lottie.com
It's an acid, it's a base ... it's pH Girl!
Faster than a chemical reaction,
Able to turn cabbage into a scientific tool...
Meet Isabel, otherwise known as pH Girl!
When curiosity strikes, Isabel dons her goggles and cape, and in a flash transforms into ... pH Girl!
Fueled by the power of Hydrogen, pH Girl is always on the lookout for acids and bases. Whether she's planting hydrangeas in the garden, polishing her safety goggles, or baking cupcakes, she can tell you the pH of everyday items faster than you can say "pipette"!
Did you know that pH stands for the power of Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is an element, one of the building blocks of everything in the universe. Scientists use a piece of equipment called a pH meter to measure the amount of hydrogen ions (H+) in a liquid. This tells them whether the liquid is an acid or a base. Strong acids have lots of H+ ions, weak acids have less, and bases have even less.
If you don't have a pH meter, you can approximate pH using chemical indicators. Red cabbage is a natural acid-base indicator. Pigment chemicals in red cabbage change color when they mix with acids and bases. Red cabbage juice turns red or pink when mixed with acids, and blue or greens when mixed with bases. Pretty cool, right?
To do some fun acid-base experiments at home, check out our new Acids, Bases & pH Kit. With pH Girl as their lab partner, girls will have fun uncovering the mysteries of acids and bases all around them! The detailed and creative lab notebook outlines 19+ new and exciting chemistry experiments - with plenty of supplies and ideas for girls to design their own.
So grab your test tubes and get ready to explore your world!
Watching a rocket propel itself into space is one of the most exciting things to see. But did you ever wonder what makes it go?
Well, yes, fuel of course. But fuel is only pushing against the ground. Why does the rocket move in the opposite direction, up?
You might have heard this famous phrase before:
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
That’s from Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion. This law helps us to predict how things will move.
Wanna test this yourself? Let’s make a balloon rocket!
You may also want a friend or parent to help as your lab partner!
What's going on?
When you let go of the balloon, the air inside rushed out creating a force called thrust. Since the balloon is so light, the air is enough to propel (or push) the balloon forward.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction:
Physicists call the air that came out of the balloon the ‘action force’ and the force that pushed the balloon forward the ‘reaction force’. When an action force goes in one direction, the reaction force goes in the opposite direction. The bigger the action force, the bigger the reaction force. This is why the balloon with most air in it went the farthest!
With real rockets, thrust comes from the force of burning rocket fuel as it blasts from the rockets engine. As the engines blast down, the rocket goes up! Just as Newton predicted: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In other words, when you push on something, it pushes back on you just as hard!
For more exciting experiments, check out our Science Kits on the Shop tab of our website!