Expose them early to hands-on STEM projects. Use the summer time as an opportunity to find programs that will give your daughter first-hand STEM experiences. Delta Sigma Theta sorority has a project called Delta SEE, Science and Everyday Experiences, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “It is a good example of how you can get children more interested in science by letting them see how science is so much a part of everything that they do.” Also search for science camps that are just for young girls. For example, the Girl Scouts have instituted a program where girls get patches for science activities, says Johnson-Thompson.
Establish a supportive environment and don’t reinforce negative thoughts about science. Try to negate the myths about science that are so pervasive, even among parents, says Johnson-Thompson. “Stop saying things like ‘Science is hard,’ ‘People who do science are strange,’ ‘Scientists don’t know how to communicate.’ If parents don’t feel comfortable with science because they don’t feel like they have enough of a knowledge base, expose them to friends, neighbors, or even doctors and dentists who can speak encouragingly to the child about science.” Participate in science programs with your child. The DeltaSee programs are designed for grade school kids and their families, says Johnson-Thompson, who chaired the advisory committee for the program. “Delta members in Durham North Carolina have taken the program to churches and schools, and host a one-day science camp every summer,” she says.
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Contact the Delta Sigma Theta Organization to see if there is a chapter sponsoring a DeltaSEE program in your area.