Making a Difference: Teaching Girls in Middle School

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Aug 28, 2009 GMT
Rikki Kite

Last night was curriculum night at my daughter's school and I got to meet her new 8th grade science and algebra teacher. My daughter has been raving about this new teacher since school started a couple of weeks ago. Yes, raving – not ranting – about the new science and algebra teacher.

As I sat in the classroom listening to the new teacher introduce herself and discuss the chemistry and physics the students would learn this year, I realized I was smiling and feeling almost giddy. I'm thrilled that my daughter has the opportunity to learn from this woman.

The teacher explained that she came to Kansas to get her PhD and planned to teach at the university level, but then her plans changed. She told the parents that because there are so few women working as scientists, she decided that she could make a bigger difference by reaching girls in middle school. She wants to get our daughters excited about learning chemistry, physics, and algebra.

Then she told us that one lesson the students would learn soon is how to make ice cream using liquid nitrogen. She said, "That is, if you are all ok with your kids playing with liquid nitrogen." We all nodded enthusiastically, and I'm pretty sure that at that point I wasn't the only parent in the room wishing we could be students in this teacher's class.

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