Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother-Daughter Scientist Club

The Mother and Daughter Science Club is an interesting-sounding idea:

The Mother And Daughter Science Club brings four to six pairs of mothers and [4th or 5th grade] daughters (or daughters and another significant adult female) together to do hands-on science experiments and activities, to learn about women scientists throughout history, and to be introduced to gender-related issues that can reinforce positive attitudes in the girls and their mothers about math and science.
Publisher ACI lets you download the M&DSC Facilitation Manual for free. It includes suggested activities including experiments, skits, history segments and some not-particularly exciting word puzzles. It also has some additional background information for adults who want to encourage girls in science and mathematics. Glancing through the program, the suggested activities seem pretty enjoyable, and they wouldn't require any special training on the part of the mothers, or any difficult-to-obtain equipment.

One drawback is that they don't include any biology-related projects - that's probably because most biology experiments would require either longer than a single meeting to complete, or specialized equipment, like a microscope. And to be successful I would think a club like this would need a leader who is both comfortable with the science and is a good organizer. That said, I think this could be a great way for moms and daughters to spend time together in a fun and educational way.

And it's only fair to mention that the reason why ACI gives the manual away is that they also want to sell you a copy of The Scientist Within You, a series of companion books which has biographies of women scientists, experiments and other activities.

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