3 Ways DRAGONFLY GIRL Encourages Girls In STEM

It challenges stereotypes

The clever protagonist in Dragonfly Girl, with a head for math and science, is a high school girl. Not only that, she’s a high school girl who wants to be liked, to wear nice clothes, to go to dances and be part of a friendship group just like any other girl.

Her best friend, also interested in science, is a popular, pretty and much admired by everyone – especially boys.

When Kira meets other adult scientists, there is an even distribution of men and woman.

By presenting a diverse group of girls and women as scientists, Dragonfly Girl challenges what educator Carly Berwick describes as “the persistent subconscious images of male mathematicians and scientists that…may be one explanation why girls enter STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – at dramatically lower rates than boys.” 

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, girls and boys perform similarly STEM related subjects on standardized tests. However, larger gaps exist between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds or family income.” from lower income families were less likely to take advanced science courses. In part, the disparity is due to a perception of who belongs in sciences. In Dragonfly Girl, the main character is the daughter of a single parent with a chronic, critical illness. When (eventually) she gets an after-school job in a laboratory, some of her young colleagues are women of color. 

It shifts perceptions about who belongs in science

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, girls and boys perform similarly STEM related subjects on standardized tests. However, “larger gaps exist between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds or family income.” from lower income families were less likely to take advanced science courses. In part, the disparity is due to a perception of who belongs in sciences. In Dragonfly Girl, the main character is the daughter of a single parent with a chronic, critical illness that means the family is in debt. In the course of the book, not only does the heroine meet women in science but also men and women of color in science.

It may even raise girls’ test scores

Studies show that giving high school girls images of female scientists resulted in higher performance by these students. For example, this study showed that  “female students had higher comprehension after viewing counter-stereotypic images (female scientists)” in their textbooks and study materials.Studies show that giving high school girls images of female scientists resulted in higher performance by these students.

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