# Elementary aged girl interested in math and science

Hi there! Mom of a first grader who loves math and science. She is very conscious of gender in various spaces. I'm aware of camps and programs like Firecracker Math and Berkeley Math Circle but I am seeking feedback on:

- How gendered do these spaces feel? If she attends these programs, would she be the only girl?

- Are there any programs specifically for girls that foster a love of math and science and extend beyond typical school programs?

Thank you!

Jun 28, 2023

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My girls (now 23 & 26) loved science largely from to early exposure at Lawrence Hall of Science classes and camps, ATDP (Academic Talent and Development Program), and Expanding Your Hotizons (several local colleges and universities have EYH programs including Cal, https://eyh.berkeley.edu/)

For your second question, check out Scientific Adventures for Girls — my friend (UC Berkeley mechanical engineer) has volunteered with them for a few years now and she really enjoys teaching the girls there.

Congrats on your curious girl! I strongly recommend checking out Scientific Adventures for Girls (https://www.scientificadventures.org/), which is based in Berkeley. I don't know their exact set up right now in terms of when/where they operate, but when our now 16-year old daughter was at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, SAFG did an after school program one day a week that she attended and loved. They are super creative, engaging, and committed to fostering love of STEM subjects in girls specifically. Good luck!

Lawrence Hall of Science used to have a "Math For Girls" class -- my daughter attended and liked it. I also taught the class (a few years before that) -- it was one of my favorite classes to teach. In a "girls-only" program, girls get to take on all the roles. One alternative, if you can't find a class, is ordering the math for girls teaching guide, and get together a few of your daughter's friends for "math playdates." Another mother (an engineer) and I used to organize a math night at our daughters' school -- where we had a lot of girl-friendly construction activities, as well as puzzles and number activities. (Gummy bear polyhedra, and bubble geometry were very popular.) So, if you feel confident of your mathematics, one thought would be to find another mother or two to organize with. If you organize something, you can email me for activity ideas.

This is just a bit more -- the math/science programs at ATDP always had a good representation of girls in the classes.

Hi- parent of two STEM focused girls aged 16 and 11 here. We never did Firecracker but did do Berkeley Math Circle and there are girls there- certainly comfortable enough for both my kids (who also wouldn't want to be the only one). I'd suggest checking out the Academic Talent Development Program offerings through UCB for the summer as well- my girls both did STEM programs there with good gender ratio. The UCB SWE science program is really fun and the students who help with the program are usually women (this is for when your child gets a few years older). Also, in middle school I would highly recommend the Girls in Engineering Camp- this year I had both a camper and a counselor and they both loved it. I think that often the gender ratio in the programs is good, but the level and comfort of participation might not be as balanced. That's where skilled teachers, confidence, small groups, etc... are helpful. My daughters have done all the above, are not the most vocal participants in class, and are still saying Math is their favorite subject and want to pursue applied math/science, so nothing has turned them away from it.

we just did the BMC summer week for that grade with our kid, who is also conscious of gender and does not like being in spaces as the only girl. i want to say there was somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 girls, and 1 of the 3 regular adults was a woman. the materials were also not overtly gendered in any particular way (like jack and jill want to share 10 candies… vs jill is the monster you’re running away from)

Oh my goodness, you all are the best, thank you!!