Getting girls excited about math, science

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The state department of education, along with University of Alabama at Birmingham, is taking steps to help strengthen the academic mindsets of young girls.

Through a program known as Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U for short, girls in K-12 have the opportunity to strengthen their skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The project intends to change confidence levels in these girls, curriculum for girls and educators in the science and math disciplines.

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The goal is to do all of this through providing animated, attractive, digital portal program and technologies to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom.

An exposition will take place this Friday and seven Pike County Elementary School students will have the opportunity to take part.

The seven girls chose to make a presentation titled “Systems of Our Human Body … A Study through PowerPoint,” which was one of the lesson plans available through the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX).

Fifth-grade teacher Jan Rhodes said the students have been working diligently making presentation boards, PowerPoint presentations and other informative pieces for the presentation.

Rhodes said her students – Ninti Jackson, Cyndrec’a McKinney, Sarah Parker, Chasdie Reynolds, A’Kalysia Rodgers, Victoria Rodgers and Dezjenae Terry – have learned much through the practice sessions and making the presentations.

More important, these girls are breaking down barriers that have in the past made math and science seem more challenging, less approachable for some girls. And that’s a good thing.

Ultimately, this program is about giving students access to information and education, and the skills they need to make choices about their careers. Giving young girls in a rural county the access to math and science curriculums – and engaging them in the content – could open doors they never dreamed possible.

That’s why this program is another important step toward ensuring that Alabama’s future is on the right path.