Altoona Area School District celebrated Girls’ in STEM with a day of planned activities and events for girls in Grades 3-9 held in seven elementary schools on Nov. 30. STEM-related careers are growing at a face pace, and although statistics indicate there is some increase in the numbers of women participating in these fields, women continue to be underrepresented. The objective of Girls’ STEM Day was to expose young female students to the opportunities available for women in STEM-related fields and to provide an opportunity where these young ladies could explore and experience STEM first-hand.
The day began with a presentation from a women professionals in a STEM related field. Careers represented included engineering, watershed specialist, physician assistant, wildlife specialist, air traffic controller, audiologist and biology professor. Following the presentation, students participated in six, 15-minute sessions that included a STEM Careers Game; Beach Ball Tower STEM Challenge designed by Penn State Altoona pre-service teachers; Altoona Area High School student Robotics presentation; and coding using Dash, Sphero and Bee Bots robots, with the assistance of the McAuliffe Heights Program students. Children in grades K-2 and boys in all grades participated during the event in coding using lessons from code.org. Girls’ STEM Day for junior high school girls in grades 7-9 focused on exposing students to educational and career opportunities in STEM related fields. Presentations and activities were presented by teachers, students and local professional working in STEM related fields.