Girls gather for STEM

Published 9:44 pm Thursday, January 24, 2019

A small group of girls gathers every Thursday morning in Nina Valdivieso’s mobile classroom at Northern Shores Elementary School to work on different STEM activities.

The all girls’ STEM club meets once a week to expand their current skills in science, technology, engineering and math and learn new ones.

Girls enrolled at the school are eligible for the club once they are in third grade, but, unfortunately, they can only have 18 girls in the club.

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“I’ve been in the STEM club since third grade. I used to be in it for just the snacks, but now my favorite part is the coding,” said Saniya Hodges, 10.

Saniya has enjoyed her time in the club, and she plans to do something STEM-related as a career.

“When I grow up, I might want to get into coding in the military like my dad,” Saniya said.

Others are just like Saniya and have been in the club since they were in third grade.

“I like that I get to experiment with different things,” said Maria Webb, 10.

Saniya and Maria spent the first half of the club making closed circuits with copper tape, LED lights and batteries.

“I had a lot of fun, but getting the battery right with it was confusing,” said Lillian Munden, 10.

Lillian and Sarah Evans, 11, worked on their circuits together, and before the end of the club period in the morning, they were able to get their LED lights lit up.

Valdivieso believes the all-girls’ STEM club is important to help foster a love and a curiosity for these topics.

“It’s very important for them. Girls are always thinking that they aren’t good at math and science because they are girls,” Valdivieso said. “When we started the first group, they said they liked it being all girls, because the boys usually jump in and take over.”

The STEM club also lets the students brush up on things they are already learning in the classroom.

“They learn about some of this stuff in class, and they get tested on it in the Standards of Learnings assessment,” Valdivieso said. “But this is so much more. They get to make things for their parents and show them exactly what they’re doing, which they don’t always do in the classroom.”