Audra Sostarecz (Monmouth College, USA)
In the summer of 2011, chemistry professor Dr. Audra Sostarecz and math professor Dr. Joanne Eary, both of Monmouth College, taught a course for 3rd-8th grade girls entitled Math/Science Interface for Girls as part of a grant through the National Girls Collaborative Project. The goal of this two-week course, which culminated in the analysis of a “Crime Scene”, was to engage young girls in science and math by utilizing inquiry-based activities. The girls were required to keep a laboratory notebook and were taught the scientific method through experiments such as “Mentos and Diet Coke”. Some concepts that the girls learned included the following: density, volume, mass, units of measurement, solute, and solvent. Challenges encountered included how to form effective groups for working together and how to foster a productive learning environment when performing inquiry-based activities. The girls’ attitudes towards STEM disciplines throughout the two weeks were interpreted from qualitative surveys.