Learning science has never been more rewarding for young girls than during the next few weeks at NJIT when FEMME, the 27-year-old, five-week, summer enrichment program, whirls to a fabulous finish. Hands-on, sophisticated projects guarantee to keep girls (ages 8-15) giggling and learning. Among the lessons: building paper roller coasters to learn physics and tie-dyeing shirts to study chemistry.
“FEMME overcomes the perennial gender gap in math, science and engineering,” said Suzanne Berliner-Heyman, program director. Studies show, she added, that girls inexplicably fall behind boys in math and science once they hit middle and high schools. FEMME redresses the problem by making difficult math and science concepts relevant, memorable and fun. Instructors are intentionally female to demonstrate role models. Outcome data and alums for interviews are available.
(EDITORS: Reporters and photographers may observe classes, interview and/or photograph students, parents and teachers about the relationship between gender and academics. Listed events below do not include all youngsters and only specific hometowns. For numbers and towns see last graph.)
Paper Roller Coasters: July 29 and July 30, 10 a.m.
Tracy Gordon, of Parsippany, who teaches during the school year seventh-grade science at Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange, will develop, design and build paper roller coasters with her class. “The lesson is to teach potential and kinetic energy,” she said. “This lesson relate to an earlier field trip to Dorney Park where the girls rode real roller coasters. The students learn basic physics and some mechanical engineering.”
Dissecting Cow’s Heart: July 23, 2008, 1 p.m.
Student teams will dissect cows’ eyes to identify structures and functions of the external and internal eye. This activity relates to NJIT’s biomedical engineering program.
M&M’s and Skittles Illustrates How Red (Chromotography) is Born: July 23, 2008
Elizabeth Zushma, of Plainfield, a chemistry teacher at Howell High School, teaches the youngsters how colors move through materials. Her students will use plain white paper and Skittles or M&M’s to understand how color progresses.
Checking Bodily Functions With Stethoscope: July 29, 2008, 12:30 p.m.
See normal blood pressure and what happens if you run or jump rope.
Tie-Dye T-Shirts and Learn the Movement of Colors: July 31, 10:30 a.m.
Building on the previous day’s lessons about how colors move through fabrics, Zushma explains through tie-dyeing cotton t-shirts how a chemical reaction takes place.
FEMME participants live in Belleville, Bogota, Edison, Elizabeth, Glen Ridge, Guttenberg, Irvington, Jersey City, Kearny, Livingston, Lyndhurst, Mantua, Maplewood, Montclair, Newark, New Milford, North Bergen, Orange, Passaic, Paterson, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Roselle, Rutherford, South Orange (3), Teaneck (4), Union City, Warren, West Orange and Whippany.