Kickstarting a jewelry-making kit for girls that teaches coding


Robbo writes, "Giapetta's Workshop is a multi-faceted interactive adventure story and hand-crafting jewelry kit, all-in-one, for 8-12 year olds that teaches the fundamentals of coding. They're running a Kickstarter campaign to get everything rolling with the goal of getting 5,000 girls coding in 30 days." Read the rest

Upvote this: Teach kids in underserved communities how to code with Minecraft

Camp Minecraft. The goal: Bring it to more kids whose families can't pay.

LA Makerspace co-founder Tara Tiger Brown shares a project that her kid-friendly maker workshop is trying to make a reality.

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Cards Against Humanity & Zach Weinersmith offer full-ride scholarships to women in science


Applicants need to be US permanent residents or citizens who's attending college in 2016/7. To apply, you'll need to record a short video explaining "a scientific topic you're passionate about." Read the rest

Incredible Science Machine team seeks Rube Goldberg record with chain reaction gizmo


Chain reaction artists and domino builders have collaborated to create what they hope will go on record as the largest chain reaction in history. Read the rest

Interactive chart displays opinion gaps between scientists and public


Pew Research Center just released an interactive chart showing gaps between scientific consensus and public opinion. Refine results by gender, age, race, education, ideology, political party, and level of science knowledge. Read the rest

On sexism in science


Julie Beck reports on the resignation of Tim Hunt, the Nobel-winning biochemist whose sexist conference remarks sparked an international outcry.

It would be easy to think these people are outliers.

In so thinking, “we miss the bigger problem and tend to want to scapegoat,” says Heather Metcalf, the director of research and analysis for the Association for Women in Science. Instances like this are part of a bigger systemic problem—“really entrenched biases against women in the sciences that have shifted over time but are still very present,” she says.

In other words, it would be a mistake to listen to the foghorn of Hunt’s comments and ignore the boat it’s signaling.

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Back a community makerspace, get a Dinosaur Comics laser-dino

Andy sez, "What could be better than dinosaurs? Dinosaurs made with lasers, of course! STEAMLabs community makerspace has been working with our friend Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics to bring you just that! There are 2 new rewards options for our Kickstarter to equip our makerspace." Read the rest

Tinker Crate

Tinker Crate is a monthly subscription service, delivering cool toys to encourage engineering-style skills in kids aged 9 to 14. Instructions are included, but they also produce slick videos like the one above to further engage little minds. Project kits include parts and diagrams to make a trebuchet in one month, and a simple motor the next.

The site doesn't list more projects than that, but since they're offering subscriptions up to 12 months, we'll just have to sign up and be surprised. Read the rest

Unschooled kids more likely to go into the arts, tech, science

Maria writes, "Could 'unschooling' be the best route to an entrepreneurial STEAM career? Two new studies of grown unschoolers show that a disproportionately high percentage have gone into science, technology and creative arts careers. They are also much more likely to be self-employed." Read the rest

Women in science tees

Jeremy sez, "To celebrate Ada Lovelace day, celebrating women in science and technology (Tuesday, Oct 15th this year) I've put together a collection of t-shirts featuring women in science and technology. Since I know that despite their contributions many of these women are not household names I've also added a brief writeup of each woman's best known accomplishments when you mouse over each design." Read the rest

High schooler blows stuff up for science — ends up charged with a felony

A Florida high school student with an interest in science mixed together aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner as an experiment. To her surprise, the mixture exploded. Unfortunately for Kiera Wilmot, she tried her experiment on school grounds.

It was a small explosion, and nobody was hurt. Wilmot was, otherwise, a good student with a perfect behavior record. But the school chose to expel her, have her arrested, and is supporting her being charged with a felony as an adult.

Scientists across the country are not amused. Biologist Danielle Lee writes about this incident in context with the discipline gap that treats minority kids more harshly for small infractions.

Through Twitter, scientists and educators speak up about the things they blew up for science, under the hashtag #KieraWilmot. Read the rest

3 things that keep poor kids out of the sciences

There is some truth to the American ideal of meritocracy. But there's a lot of myth, as well. Biologist Danielle Lee describes her experience coaching poor kids in St. Louis on science fair projects — an activity that often becomes a stepping stone to a career in the sciences. But, for the kids Lee met, intelligence and a good idea aren't enough to overcome the institutional barriers working against them. This is how discrimination happens. It's not simple and easy to fix and it isn't pretty to watch. Read the rest

The true story of the woman who performed mercy abortions at Auschwitz

Gisella Perl was Romanian and Jewish. She was a gynaecologist at a time and place where very few women went into the medical professions. In 1944, she and her entire family were shipped off to Auschwitz, where Perl was instructed to provide medical care for her fellow inmates — medical care that was supposed to happen without even the most basic medical supplies.

In this position, she was officially employed by Josef Mengele, and she saw what happened to women who entered Auschwitz while pregnant. The short answer was death. The long answer was that those deaths were often horrifying and drawn-out. So Gisella Perl gave herself a new job — protecting women by helping them hide evidence of pregnancy and by performing abortions with her bare hands.

I'd never heard Perl's story before. It's heartbreaking. And it's riveting. The Holocaust History Project has a long and well-cited version. Read the rest

Slate's "The Vault" is a great, new history blog

Rebecca Onion is the curator at a new Slate blog that showcases nifty finds from America's historical archives. So far, she's got a photo of the be-loinclothed winner of a eugenics-inspired Better Baby Contest; a breakup letter written by Abraham Lincoln; and this specimen of 1950s-style STEM recruitment toys for girls.

What's interesting about this chemistry set is that you can't really say it's more or less sexist than the types of science kits you see marketed heavily to girls today. Sure, it's in a pink box and heavily insinuates that the best job a woman can hope for in science is as somebody's assistant. But, on the other hand, it's apparently the exact same chemistry set sold to boys, just with different packaging. Whereas today, pink-colored science kits trend heavily toward "girl" things, like teaching you how to make your own scented soaps — but at least you're in charge of the soap-making lab.


The set, which is preserved in the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s collection of chemistry sets, is a product of post-WWII anxiety over the nation’s lack of what was called “scientific manpower.” Having seen what a difference science made in the war (the bomb, radar, penicillin), and realizing that the amount of work to be done in labs and industrial R&D was limitless, Americans worried that insufficient numbers of young people wanted to be scientists. Some called for young women to be included in recruitment efforts. Women had been largely shut out of scientific careers up until that point.

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Ada Lovelace day coming up: party in London, fundraiser to sustain the project

Suw Charman sez,

Ada Lovelace Day - the international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering & maths on October 16 - will see people around the world writing or talking about the women who have inspired them. This is our fourth year, and we have planned a fantastic Ada Lovelace Day Live! event in London, with independent events being organised in around the world, including UK, Italy and America so far. We’re also running a fundraiser on Indiegogo to help us expand our work.

An evening of science, technology, comedy and song, Ada Lovelace Day Live! features accelerator physicist Dr Suzie Sheehy, marine biologist Dr Helen Scales, comedians Helen Keen & Helen Arney, robot maker and thereminist Sarah Angliss, Sydney Padua creator of the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage webcomic, technology and TV presenter Gia Milinovich, and science communicator Dr Alice Bell. The Women's Engineering Society will also be presenting the prestigious Karen Burt Memorial Award to a newly chartered woman engineer.

Tuesday 16 October 6:30pm The IET, Savoy Place, London, England Tickets: £10/info

Since its inception, Ada Lovelace Day has been run entirely by volunteers and by partnering with organisations like the Women's Engineering Society, Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, London Games Festival and BCS Women. We have managed a huge amount through the kindness and generosity of our volunteers and partners, but there is more we could do.

We now want to create a formal charitable organisation to support women in STEM, not just on one day of the year, but all year round.

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Science summer-camp for girls

Get WISE is a sold-out science camp for girls running in Halifax, NS, on the campus of Mount St. Vincent University. It's part of the Women In Science Education Atlantic initiative, and combines kinetic learning with hands-on exercises as well as more traditional classroom work. The kids really look like they're having a great time, too.

(Thanks, Rachel!) Read the rest

How does biology explain the low numbers of women in computer science?

View more presentations from Terri Oda

A great look at math, and real vs. imaginary Bell curve distributions. Thanks to Gideon for bringing this to my attention! Read the rest