Monday, October 20, 2008

Curieing Favor

Our local park district has started a science club for girls. I endorse this in principle, as our experience with extra-curricular science programs is that the boys outnumber the girls by at least two to one. But I have several concerns with the club in its current practice. The first problem is that there is no equivalent science program for boys. They appear to have abandoned the coed programs as well. So for the moment, at least, this club is the only science program being offered. The second problem is the gender profiling used in advertising the program:

"Learn how science art and cooking go hand in hand." Now, AJ took a class called kitchen science this summer that showed kids how science is used in the home. And there's interesting stuff to be learned. But this class seems to be about Easy Bake ovens and other things designed to appeal to pretty princesses. If the class were for boys and girls, I wouldn't have a problem with the subject matter. But because it's for girls only -- "NO BOYS allowed," it says, right in the class description -- it makes me squirm. And the worst part is the name of the club: "Madame Curries." I still haven't figured out if that's a play on words because it's kitchen science or if it's just a typo that nobody caught. I'm also not sure which is worse.

Maybe I'm being curmudgeonly this morning, but isn't there a better ways to get girls into science?


FreshHell said...

The Happy Homemakers "Science" Club? Argh. I'll stop before my comment gets so lengthy I crash the server.

Anonymous said...

Someone might want to tell them that they are in violation of Title IX. And guilty of many other egregious sins.

Anonymous said...

I suppose they're trying to counteract all the science programs (design your own car, etc.) that don't appeal so much to girls. Still, it seems they could just offer a "Science of Cooking" class and let whoever is interested attend. Hmm.

Katie said...

Yikes. Sounds like they're appealing to the wrong group. Girls who like science and girls who think they're pretty princesses probably don't share a lot of crossover on the Venn diagram. I liked dinosaurs and space and anything with a whiff of "girl stuff" about it was suspect.

For a very short time, before grown ups made liking Harry Potter the opposite of cool, I remember seeing a lot of ads for kids to learn science "magic" (chemistry), and about Hollywood special effects (physics and illusions) generally with Harry Potter themes. It seemed gender neutral and was even attempting to be inter-curricular.

Science seems like such a no-brainer. Kids have a natural curiosity to know how things work, and a proclivity to creation and destruction. Science is the bedrock of their world. Why is it so hard for adults to present it to them?

lemming said...

Hmmm.... just show them Alton Brown re-runs.