Several bloggers, including Mike the Mad Biologist, Shakespeare’s Sister, and Amanda at Pandagon, have written about the Discovery Channel Store’s appalling choices in science gifts for girls. The top boys’ gifts include things like the Discovery Whodunit? Forensics Lab and the Discovery Speed Detector, while the girls have the Discovery Deluxe Nail Salon and the Discovery Jellloopdeloops Jewelry Kit.
The bloggers above have already waxed snarky about this, so I’ll refrain. I will, however, continue the Mombian tradition of practical tips and advice, and point you to some online resources for girls interested in science and engineering:
- Sally Ride Science, founded by the first American woman in space, has resources for parents, teachers, and girls, including an online science club for upper-elementary and middle-school girls, and lots of links to other science resources.
- The Association for Women in Science has a mentoring program. Local chapters may also be able to give lectures on science or speak at school career days.
- Engineer Girl is a great site with information on engineering in general, project ideas, puzzles and games, tips for college preparation, and much more.
- The Women in Engineering Organization site has resources for girls, parents, and teachers, including information on various engineering contests, challenges, and scholarships.
- The IEEE Virtual Museum exhibit “Nurturing the Network: Women and the Communications Industry” highlights women’s achievements in the communications industry.
- The Society of Women Engineers has a long list of additional links for children, teachers, and parents, covering engineering in general and women engineers in particular.
- One of my earlier posts includes a list of sites with home science experiments for kids of any and all genders.
One further resource: My partner has a Ph.D in Materials Science. Her specialty is semiconductor processing (i.e., making computer chips), and she’s worked at everything from a startup to a research laboratory to a large corporation. She’s offered to answer questions from any of you who have high-school age girls (or boys, for that matter) interested in engineering. Drop me a note or leave a comment if you’re interested. (If enough of you respond, maybe I’ll twist her arm to write a guest post.)
Finally, the Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch tonight at 8:47 p.m. EST. Its crew includes two women, Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham and Flight Engineer Sunita Williams. Most of the major news channels should be covering the launch (though it’s always wise to check the NASA Web site for last-minute delays). NASA TV online will have it, too. Watch it with your kids.