One of the big aims of the STEAM movement is to involve youth in the sciences and encourage their creative processes through art. That’s exactly what Cool Girls Science and Art Club is doing, encouraging elementary school girls to learn about everything from arts, robotics, and “explosions!”. Based out of Boulder, Colorado, the organization “helps elementary school children develop their passion for the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM)”. A grassroots organization founded by Mary Golden, a science editor and founder/director of several educational and arts programs, Cool Girls is all about passion and discovery, as well as that natural curiosity and open-mindedness that comes with the scientific method. She hopes that in educating these children in critical thinking skills and in the scientific method, they will be able to: make informed decisions, respect their own and other’s opinions, resist falling prey to dogma, and support funding for scientific research and education.
The club is split into two groups, Grades 1-2 and Grades 3-5. The girls select a new topic or area of exploration at the beginning of each semester, and the organization teaches on that topic and brings in STEAM professi
onals to lecture on it. Only about 20% of club time is spent on this though, as they follow the 80-20 rule of practicality versus lecture. The girls maintain their own science journals, which they write and draw in during recess and various activities. They later present their findings to their peers by sharing their journal entries or discussing something STEAM-related that they have
done or become curious about. The classrooms encourage active participation and to work up in-class presentations (parent’s help allowed). Additionally, each week the older group mentors the younger group, and the girls are encouraged to do their presentations in their regular school classes. Their hands-on, face-to-face curriculum is based off of research done by the Edgerton Center at MIT, which concluded that 85%
of middle school children are interested in STEM, but that two-thirds of them don’t plan on pursuing careers in it because they don’t know any STEM professionals, or simply don’t know what those careers actually entail.
Cool Girls Science and Art Club is just the kind of youth-oriented organization needed for encouraging critical thinking skills and promoting art and the sciences to future generations. A quick browse through their photo gallery sports everything from arts and crafts to robotics competitions, and these girls are able to meet and learn from industrial designers to optometrists, to book writers and award-winning knitters. The Cool Girls get to explore anything they are interested in, and are encouraged to gain confidence and initiative in how they go into their higher education. To learn more visit their website at coolgirls-scienceart.org!