How To Use the Toolkit
Effective Use of the Film
Schools and Nonprofits
a project of Media Working Group
schools and nonprofits
Helping adults recruit, prepare and retain girls in STEM courses, after-school
programs and extra-curricular opportunities
This section focuses on using The Gender Chip Project with the
individuals – teachers, counselors, school administrators, parents
and the staff of nonprofits and after-school programs – who have
a direct and indirect impact on girls’ and young women’s
choices regarding STEM. Following are some suggestions for using the
film with these groups:
- Show The Gender Chip Project as part of a workshop on recruitment
for teachers, counselors and/or nonprofit program staff. Share your
school’s or program’s statistics for female enrollment
in science, math and computer science courses, brainstorm ways to increase
the numbers and get commitments from workshop participants to take
on one or two recruitment activities.
- Organize a professional development session for teachers on creating
gender-inclusive STEM classrooms. Open with a screening of the “Making
Discoveries” section of the film. Follow with testimony from
experts about teaching strategies that engage both girls and boys.
- Organize the above activity for teachers-in-training, graduate students
in education or faculty and teaching assistants at universities.
- Set up a professional development session for teachers on how to
use the film and the Gender Chip Project website and curricula.
Host an open house for parents to inform them about their daughters’ educational
and economic opportunities in STEM. Use the film to encourage comments
and discussion about how parents can support their daughters’ pursuit
of STEM. Present information on course offerings, college requirements
and career prospects, as well as tips for encouraging their daughters’ interests.
- Convene the nonprofit STEM programs in your area and use the film
to create new opportunities for collaboration and coalition-building,
share best practices and resources, etc.
- The Gender Chip Project identifies several reasons, including
labor shortages and economic security, as to why it’s important
for women and girls to be involved in STEM. Which of these arguments
did you find the most compelling? What are some other reasons for involving
more women in science, technology, engineering and math?
- The young women in the film speak about childhood experiences that
either supported or challenged their pursuit of STEM. Which of these
stories resonated with you most? What are some of the other factors
that influence girls’ decisions to pursue or not to pursue STEM?
In discussing her experience of being the only girl in her advanced
math class in high school, Anna says, “I had to work twice as
hard to prove myself.” She had a similar experience in college.
In the face of these challenges, what are some strategies for keeping
girls on STEM tracks? Why do you think Anna stuck with her major in
- In addition to the narratives of the five students, the film includes
perspectives of Ohio State faculty and national experts on girls, women
and STEM. How did this “plurality” of voices contribute
to your viewing of the film? To what extent were they representative
of the young women you know? What perspectives were missing?
- None of the young women in The Gender Chip Project discuss
economics – either as a barrier or an incentive – as it
relates to their pursuit of STEM. Think about the young people you
work with. How might economics factor into their decisions about the
- Center for
Women and Technology
Through research, scholarships and educational programming, the Center works
to achieve women’s full participation in all aspects of information
technology. Initiatives include the ESTEEM After-school Program, a partnership
with the Shriver Center and the Chabot Space and Science Center that includes
an after-school, weekend and four-week summer program for middle school students.
- Expect the Best
From a Girl: That’s What You’ll Get
Tips for parents for encouraging their daughters to enter traditionally male
Offers a summer institute, new teacher program (for San Francisco Bay Area
teachers only) and an array of online resources for science educators.
- The Gender Chip Project
Learning Resource Center
Project of the Educational Development Center with resources, research and
national contacts for schools and educators working to increase the numbers
of students in STEM careers.
Focused on four regions (California, Massachusetts, Pacific Northwest, and
Wisconsin), this project aims to strengthen girl-serving STEM programs through
collaboration among organizations, institutions and businesses. Website includes
program directories and links.
- National Institute
for Women in Trades, Technology and Science
National organization dedicated to helping women break into male-dominated
fields. Web resources include strategies for recruiting and retaining women
and girls in STEM courses and fields.
Science Partnership for Girl Scouts and Science Museums
Collaboration between The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia
and Girl Scouts of the USA that seeks to increase opportunities for girls
ages 6-12 to explore the knowledge and processes of science in a hands-on,
exploratory, all-girl environment.
Gender, and After-school
Interactive forum for researchers, practitioners, policymakers, parents and
others interested in strengthening the role of after-school programs in increasing
girls’ participation in STEM education and careers. Includes publications
such as “What We Know About Girls, STEM, and After-school Programs” and
Science, Gender, and After-school: A Research-Action Agenda.
- Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing
Margolis, Jane and Allan Fisher, 2002: The MIT Press
A well-written, engaging study about the gender gap in computing, with a
focus on undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon University. One chapter discusses
lessons from a summer institute for computer science teachers and lists strategies
for recruiting girls and creating gender-inclusive classrooms.