A few weeks ago I was able to be one of the instructors/ supervisors at a Girl Scout Ranger Weekend on the island of Brookside in the New River Gorge. Four different troops gathered to participate in science and math activities led by research assistants from nearby universities, and rangers held a few activities that resulted in night sky exploration patches for the Girl Scouts. The girls stayed overnight in the campgrounds and made customary s’mores around a late-night campfire.
I had the privilege of leading one of the activities as well as leading my extreme version of Simon Says. I had worked as a camp counselor in previous years, but did not have the resources (or the age group) to be able to lead more cognitive science activities with the children. These girls were polite and ready to learn! It felt like a glimpse into my future being able to educate children about the world around them. Though I feel my path will not involve teaching in primary schools, I do intend to create the materials and procedures that can be used by enthusiastic educators to create the joy I saw while leading my “night sky” activity.
I find it inspiring that so many young girls were excited about learning science and math and I hope to work more with all-female groups in the future to continue closing the ever present gender gap in STEM fields.