Learning science has never been more rewarding for young girls than during the next few weeks at NJIT when FEMME, the 28-year-old, five-week, summer enrichment program, whirls to a fabulous finish. Hands-on, sophisticated projects guarantee to keep girls (ages 8-15) happy 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: Best dates for interviewing students are from July 22-Aug. 2, 2009. Listed events below do not include all youngsters. Call to find out specific schedules for students in your towns.)
Making Paper Roller Coasters
Stephanie Suriano, who teaches during the school year 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 and relate to an earlier field trip to Dorney Park where the girls rode real roller coasters. The exercise teaches basic physics and mechanical engineering.
Dissecting a Cow’s Heart
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 Illustrate How Red (Chromotography) is Born
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 Stethoscopes
See normal blood pressure and what happens if you run or jump rope.
Tie-Dye T-Shirts and Learn the Movement of Colors
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 (2), Bloomfield, Carteret, Elizabeth, Glen Ridge (1), Green Brook, Guttenberg (2), Irvington, Jersey City (2), Kearny (1), Livingston (6), Maplewood (3), Morristown, Newark (3), New Milford (1), North Bergen, Orange (3), Passaic (8), Paterson (1), Perthy Amboy (12), Rutherford (2), South Orange (1), Teaneck (3), Union City (46); Warren (1), West Orange (2), Whippany (1).