Parenting Girls the Science Way – Effective Science Learning: Counteract Stereotypes

In the 1990’s psychologists, Joshua Aronson and Claude Steele introduced the hypothesis that people become self-conscious when negative stereotypes are linked to gender and ethnicity and do worst at tests.

The stereotype issues is a major issue that reflects why some do poorly in exams. It has been drenched into their minds that ‘people like them’ are less proficient. It is a stereotype threat.

It is not possible to blot out stereotypes that have been engraved in public minds, but there are a few concrete steps that can be taken to free children from social stereotypes


  • Teach kids about stereotype threats

Understanding effects will defuse effects. One study revealed students performed better when they were told that negative stereotypes could affect performance   (Johns et al 2007).

  • Offer role models that  defy stereotypes

Stereotypes can be counteracted by presenting positive role models and extraordinary achievers that defy set social stereotypes and remind students of success before any big tests

(McIntyre et al 2005; Bagès and Martinot 2011).

Girls and Science – The Gender Gap

There is a general belief that science is more interesting for boys and not girls. Researchers found that fathers use language more cognitively enforced with their sons when doing science projects and less os with daughters  (Tenenbaum and Leaper 2003).

Studies have found that girls with a firm self-concept about their abilities in maths and science perform well in math and science subjects and even select math or science related careers
Improving beliefs about abilities could alter performances and choices as they move out of elementary school.

Science for Girls:  Parenting Tips

Emphasise that science is not just a school subject, we live in a world that is scientific. Girls are receptive when they realise that scientific principles are the same in social studies. All life matters encompass science, weather forecasts, the change of climate, what we eat, our allergies and illnesses, transportation methods and the electronic gadgets that fill homes are science areas surrounding your children. Science fires imagination

  • Girls deconstruct concepts verbally. Looking at a screen or board is insufficient. They need to talk about the problem to unpack it.
  • Girls respond more to colour than boys.  Integrate colour for the organisation.Use separate colour containers for items and provide a visual experience with different colours.
  • Let her read recipes and instructions aloud.This will help her when she is involved in science experiments to break down the steps involved. Cooking uses maths and science, measuring, weighing, timing as mathematical exercises and the science of combining elements to construct a brand new creation.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles, card games and crossword puzzled are a  brain-stretching and soothing as a  family activity.  crossword puzzles and card games.
  • Keep resources in the home like dictionaries, a computer, study desk and tables.
  • There should be more books and less tv
 The Leaky Pipeline of Women in SciencePresentation by Dr Diane Halpern, professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College, (creator of Encouraging Girls in Math and Science)

• The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Pisa numbersMath anxiety

• Teaching the Female Brain: How Girls Learn Math and Science by Abigail Norfleet James