Our STEAM Program
About LEAD Girls STEAM Program
Our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) focus has grown over the past several years. We have shaped and evolved our STEAM program components with guidance from female professionals from the science, tech and arts fields who are volunteers with LEAD Girls, along with our staff, many of whom have backgrounds as educators. In 2023, we began a collaboration with Smart Girls HQ, a North Carolina based STEM education provider, using evidence-based research to support our efforts.
Why STEAM programming is vital for girls
A study by Microsoft and KRC Research found that girls’ interest in STEM begins to decline at the age of 12, and by age 15, girls’ interest is HALF that of boys. Women earn 59% of undergraduate degrees (18% more than men), yet only 10% were in a STEM field.
Among the women employed as scientists/engineers, only 5% were women of color in 2020.
LEAD Girls’ goal is to change this trajectory by prioritizing STEAM in our programming and outreach with our girls. We purposely expose our LEADers to STEAM opportunities to keep their interest piqued and show them they have a future in whatever career they desire.
Our STEAM Curriculum
Our lessons cover a broad cross-section of STEAM subjects. Each lesson is a multi-session hands-on learning experience. With this interactive approach, girls experience STEAM in a way that not only brings the lessons to life, but that also allows them to see the practical, real-world uses of science, tech, engineering, art and math in everyday situations and in commonly used products.
Over the course of a ten-week structured workshop series, LEAD Girls STEAM participants explore: biomedical engineering and the creation of assistive devices, modeling products using a kid-friendly CAD program and 3D printers, chemical engineering and the process of creating a carbonated beverage, mechanical engineering and its application in designing machines, with students working to build a smart fan device.
Biomedical Engineering Infused with Science, Tech, Creative Arts and Math
This lesson teaches students about accessibility and how technology can help people with physical and cognitive challenges. They learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act, watch inspiring stories, brainstorm ideas for new assistive technology, and use Tinkercad to create a 3D-printed bag carrier. Materials used in the lesson include: laptop with internet connection, projector or TV to watch videos and tutorials, blank paper, pencils, sticky notes, and access to a 3D printer. All supplied are provided by LEAD Girls, including web-connected laptops, Tinkercad software access, and the 3D printer.
Chemical Engineering Infused with Science, Tech, Creative Arts and Math
In this lesson, students will experiment to create the perfect recipe for a carbonated beverage. They will test different amounts of baking soda and citric acid to find the ideal recipe that has the perfect amount of bubbliness, sweetness, and flavor. Out of the three sessions, this one will have the most materials and will require time to prep the ingredients in advance.
This lesson focuses on carbonation and creating the perfect soda recipe. Participants will learn that carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide is dissolved under high pressure in water, creating bubbles. Students will experiment with different amounts of baking soda and citric acid to find the ideal recipe. Next, the class will create a scatter plot to visualize their data and compare their results. The lesson concludes with students using artistic creativity to design an advertisement for their carbonated beverage.
Mechanical Engineering Infused with Science, Tech, Creative Arts and Math
Students will delve into the fascinating world of mechanical engineering in this lesson, to explore how mechanical engineers use their creativity and problem-solving skills to design tools, engines, and machines that make our daily lives easier and more efficient. Through hands-on activities and engaging experiments, they will gain insight into the intricate process of crafting innovative solutions and be inspired to think like future engineers.
During the lesson, students will work together to build a smart fan and discuss how sensors work to respond to commands. The second half of the lesson will focus on how to write a set of accessible instructions for smart devices using a block-based coding language.