Cool Girls Science and Art Club helps elementary school children develop their passion for the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM). Girls-only groups meet after school and go on field trips (families welcome!). We also present programs in the classroom for girls and boys.
Who can join Cool Girls Science and Art Club?
Cool Girls Science and Art Club is open to all girls in grades 1 – 5 who are interested in STEAM, space permitting. To register or volunteer, please contact us.
What does Cool Girls Science and Art Club do?
As a grassroots organization, Cool Girls Science and Art Club is led by its members, who meet in two groups: grades 1-2 and grades 3-5. At the beginning of each semester, each of the two groups decides what STEAM topics they want to explore. They may invite a previous mentor or ask the Cool Girls director to find an appropriate STEAM professional. Periodically, they evaluate the presentations. This process builds confidence and enhances critical thinking.
Cool Girls Science and Art Club follows the 80:20 rule, i.e., during each session, the girls discuss or do activities 80 percent of the time and mentors aim for talking no more than 20 percent of the time. The scientific method is applied to various challenges.
But first things first: right after school at 2:30, the girls rush into the meeting room hungry for snacks, then STEAM.
During snack time, the STEAM mentor briefly introduces the topic and suggests what the girls might look for outside to write about or draw in their science journals during recess. They may use their bodies to actively augment learning, e.g., wriggle like an animal, sniff the air and feel the surface of a plant, or run and jump on a stomp rocket to learn about propulsion.
Cool Girls have the opportunity to present their discoveries to their peers by sharing their journal entries or discussing something STEAM-related that they have done or become curious about since the last meeting. Perhaps they have found answers to one of the questions they wrote in their notebooks just before going home. They sometimes work up a presentation with their parents for a meeting. Each week, some of the older girls mentor the younger group, and we anticipate that the girls will do some presentations in school classrooms.
Cool Girls’ intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm and insights direct the flow of information at club meetings as they learn not only from the program presented by the mentor, but from each other. Mentors, aware that some of the girls may be smarter than they are, encourage their creative contributions and learning flows two ways.
Face-to-face, hands-on experiences make it easier for the girls to picture themselves in such roles when they become adults. According to Citizen Schools, “The Edgerton Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted research indicating that 85% of middle school children are interested in STEM, but that two-thirds of them believe they will not pursue careers in STEM either because they don’t know any STEM professionals or they don’t know what those professionals really do. At Citizen Schools, we know that early exposure to STEM careers, professionals and project-based learning opportunities is a great way to increase interest in the STEM field.”
Volunteer Director and Founder
Mary Golden is the volunteer director of Cool Girls Science and Art Club. Professionally, she is a science editor and writing instructor with an academic background in organizational development and public policy. She has founded and directed several educational and arts programs. Mary is a certified ESL teacher and a member of several science and education organizations.
I teach science to young elementary school students partly to share their passion for discovery but also to help them to develop tools, particularly the scientific method, that will aid in maintaining their natural curiosity, confidence and open-mindedness throughout life.
Whether they become scientists or not, perhaps critical-thinking skills will enable them to (i) resist falling prey to dogma, (ii) make informed decisions, (iii) respect their own and others’ opinions and cultures, and (iv) support funding for scientific research and education.
Incorporating art into the curriculum is natural because both scientists and artists think creatively and question their own results. The two subjects complement each other..
Cool Girls Science and Art Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, is open to all girls in grades 1-5, space permitting. The grassroots club was founded and named by a group of rising third-graders in May 2008 who had been in Mary Golden’s science and art program at Crest View Elementary School, which began in 2005.
The girls choose areas of focus and evaluate the program. Each week volunteer science and art professionals mentor the girls and joyfully experiment together. Currently, there are three after-school groups, one for grades 3-5 and two for grades 1-2. Cool Girls also sponsors a weekly science presentation in a first-grade and a fourth-grade class at Crest View Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado.
For more information, please contact Mary Golden, Director via email:
mary [at] coolgirls-scienceart.com .