BGRD hosts second annual Girls in STEM Day
On February 1, 2019, students from across Black Gold Regional Division No. 18 (BGRD) gathered at West Haven Public School to discover the wealth of opportunities available to them in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
BGRD hosted its second annual Girls In STEM Day, which engages girls in Grades 5-10 in STEM-related topics and highlights careers in those fields. Through hands-on learning experiences and interaction with STEM role models, the students gain confidence in their interests at a particularly important time. According to computer science organization Girls Who Code, 74 percent of middle school-aged girls express interest in STEM subjects, but few actually choose STEM career paths.
“We are igniting the spark to imagine a future where they can break down walls and be anything,” said BGRD teacher and Girls in STEM Day presenter Amanda Green.
The theme ‘Like a Girl’ was highlighted throughout the day – from the empowering morning address by keynote speaker Trisha Roffey to the engaging activities that followed. Participants chose from a variety of sessions which allowed them to dive into STEM-related topics with real-world applications: building bridges, designing airplanes, flying drones, exploring coding, robotics, green screen technology and materials engineering, as well as creating digital designs, and simulating a Mars Rover landing. As the day progressed, each girl designed and added to their own website which served as a reflective portfolio of the day.
125 BGRD students took part in this year’s Girls in STEM Day – twice as many as last year’s inaugural event. “This is a positive sign that events such as this are having an impact on promoting a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and hopefully enabling girls to partake in these fields in their future careers. Black Gold is excited to be able to support such important work,” stated Tarynne Angell, event organizer and Curriculum Coach with Black Gold Regional Schools.
An important element of the support BGRD provides is to its educators. In addition to joining the students in their Girls in STEM Day activities, BGRD teachers also had the opportunity to take in their own sessions, which included information on materials engineering and Google Apps for Education. With guidance from the University of Alberta’s Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) unit and a BGRD Technology Facilitator, the teachers explored ways to apply the new information in their classrooms.
The joint learning experiences create the kind of educational setting the division strives for. “BGRD’s mission is to inspire success and this day was a prime example of our mission in motion,” said BGRD trustee Sarah O’Gorman. “Thanks to the organizers and presenters who inspired success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in Black Gold’s young women.”