Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Nicky Kram

The Mott Hall School

Having Students Become Familiar With Female Scientists

The main focus of this Plan is to have students become familiar with female scientists. I am interested in having students begin to picture women as scientists so when they are asked to name a famous scientist they may not only be able to recall Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison, but Rachel Carson, Dian Fossey and/or Marie Curie may also come to mind. This is for the benefit for both the boys and the girls in my class. "If we want female students to have a chance to grow into successful and renowned scientists, we must make a concerted effort to provide them with role models. If we want male students to grow into men with great respect for women, both personally and professionally, we should show them that adults value women's contributions. A science classroom is the perfect forum for making a positive contribution to both goals." (Zacks, 3/99)

The project is as follows: Each student will choose a different female scientist from a given list. Each student will research the female scientist he or she chooses, create a resume for her and then finally deliver an oral presentation. [5-8 Content Standard G- History of science/Science as a human endeavor] This project aims to update our current science textbooks and curriculum. The assignment requires students to make use of the school library and their local library as well as perhaps larger libraries citywide. [Teaching Standard D- Identify/use resources outside the school] Students will have to use the Internet and word processing program resume templates to complete the assignment.

This project is not original. It was taken from Cindy L. Zacks article in the March 1999 issue of Science Teacher called "Notable Women." [Teaching Standard D- Make accessible science media] I plan to spend more time on this project than she gives her high school students because my students are younger (5th grade) and not as familiar with how to conduct effective library research, access relevant information from the Internet, and resume templates. Allow one month for this project, including the oral presentations. The project will help to integrate science with history, technology and writing and research skills.

It is possible that even allowing students a whole month to complete this assignment thoroughly may not be enough time. Many students will probably not communicate with their parents about the necessity of visiting their local library or another one in the city in order to complete the assignment. Students may not know how to do effective searches on the Internet. In order to try and overcome these obstacles, try the following. Write a letter to the parents at the beginning of the month explaining the assignment and let them know how they can help their child to have success with this project. Talk with the technology teacher to have him/her spend some of the class time teaching the students how to use search engines. Schedule class time in the school library so students have additional time in school to ask questions, complete reading/research and take notes.

I will use some of my enhancement funds for this assignment. I plan to purchase nice paper for the students to make professional looking resumes. I would like to purchase several biographies about famous women in science to add to my personal classroom library. I will need to purchase some 3.5 discs, and also I want to buy several videos that are about famous women in science, for example Gorillas in the Mist. I may also want to find and then ask a female scientist to come and speak to my students about her work and how she became a scientist [Teaching Standard D- Identify/use resources outside the school]. If there were costs involved with doing this I would use my enhancement funds to help pay for such expenses.

I believe this assignment is aligned with National, State and City Standards. Not only do my students learn about many different disciplines within science, my students will be learning and using skills from other subjects to help them to complete this project. All the Standards stress the importance or reading, writing and the use of technology throughout the curriculum. Notable Women take this into account.

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