Workshop Toolkit

Filmmaker's Note

How To Use the Toolkit

Effective Use of the Film

Schools and Nonprofits

Young Women




Action Toolkit

Workshop Toolkit
Evaluation Tools

a project of Media Working Group


Workshop Toolkit

schools and nonprofits


Helping adults recruit, prepare and retain girls in STEM courses, after-school programs and extra-curricular opportunities


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The Gender Chip Project provides free interactive curricula for a range of activities to support girls in their pursuit of education and careers in STEM. The curricula are designed for:

  • 5th and 9th grade class-rooms
  • Girl-serving nonprofits,
    after-school programs
    and homework clubs
  • Secondary counselors
    and advisers
  • Post-secondary advisers
  • General activities
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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.
  • . . . .

    did you know?
    In 2001, more than 200,000 women received degrees in science and engineering compared with just under 200,000 men. However, a gender gap persists in the hard sciences: Only 28% of computer science degrees went to women, a drop from 37% in 1985, and women earned approximately 20% of engineering degrees.3

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    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.
discussion questions
  • 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?
  • . . . .

    did you know?
    Percentage of girls who took the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in 2004:1

    Calculus AB: 48%
    Calculus BC: 40%
    Physics B: 35%
    Physics C: 25%
    Computer Science (A and AB): 15%

    . . .
    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 mathematics?
  • 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 future?
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  • 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 professions.
  • Exploratorium Teacher Institute
    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
  • ITest 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.
  • National Girls’ Collaborative
    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.
  • National 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.
  • Science, 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.
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