Studying the Past to Inspire the Future
"Women have lit up the scientific world since the dark ages (literally!), but their achievements have often been left in the dark."
We couldn't have said it better. Women have had an instrumental role in science since it's very foundation, but most people couldn't name more than a couple female scientists. Why is that? And how can studying them inspire children today?
Read on to discover the answers in an exclusive excerpt from our cover story in STEM Magazine. First up, put your knowledge to the test with a fun activity to see how many women in biology you know.
Did you guess any biologists' hometowns and discoveries correctly? Whether you got them all, or none, correct, you can now say you know the names of some of the most important women in biology. Read an excerpt from our STEM Magazine cover story below to learn why it's so important for children today to learn from the past!
“Women in Biology” Encourages Children to Dream Big
Excerpted from STEM MAGAZINE
STEM education in the elementary years promotes critical thinking, encourages an openness to new ideas, and emphasizes the importance of making decisions based on data. Along with testing science and math knowledge, it is equally important to provide kids—especially girls—with inspiring role models to encourage their budding interest in STEM fields.
A new series of children’s books were designed to show children a sampling of the trailblazing scientists of generations past. The Science Wide Open books focus on women in STEM fields. It kicks off with Women in Biology, which was just released October 7 in paperback and eBook, and Spanish paperback and eBook. Coming soon are paperback and Spanish Women in Chemistry and Women in Physics. [The hardback books were published in 2016 through a Kickstarter campaign.]
Women have lit up the scientific world since the dark ages (literally!), but their achievements have often been left in the dark. In fact, of the more than 600 Nobel Prizes that have been given out in the sciences (Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine/Physiology), just 20 have gone to women.
With this in mind, Mary Wissinger, a mom and former teacher in St. Louis, MO, dove into the history books and unearthed women who helped made the STEM fields what they are today. The result: the Science Wide Open series, where children are introduced to some of the female scientists as well as to basic concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics. This series, designed for children ages 7-10, is the perfect way for young scientists to understand the power of curiosity and resilience while discovering the wonders the world holds.
Women in Biology starts with a conversation between a spunky young protagonist, who asks questions about the world around her, and a scientifically-astute narrator, whose answers are crafted to be understandable to young minds. These two explore some of the basics of science together, and their dynamic makes learning new vocabulary an effortless outcome of enjoying the story.
With the release of the book in Spanish, even more children can experience the power of curiosity. Eva Woods Peiró, Ph.D., Professor, Hispanic and Women's Studies at Vassar College, writes, “Las mujeres en la biología, is an exceptionally written, vividly illustrated and clearly narrated short history of the foundational contributions of women to the biological sciences. It explains required scientific concepts for K-12 curriculum in a way that is sure to captivate young minds and inspire them to dream big.”
Readers can expand and extend the content in Women in Biology and Las mujeres en la biología with Science Naturally's extensive Teacher's Guide. Download it here.
You can read STEM Magazine's full October issue here, and be sure to visit stemmagazine.com to learn more about the magazine!
Hildegard of Bingen – Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany – Found out that water needs to be cleaned before people drink it to prevent them from getting sick.
Jane Cooke Wright – New York, USA – Observed how medicine affected cells, which helped her pick the best treatment for patients.
Maria Sibylla Meridan – Frankfurt, Germany – Created incredibly detailed and beautiful drawings of insects and plants that are used in the Linnaean system.
Barbara McClintock – Connecticut, USA – Discovered and named jumping genes transposons.
Linda Buck – Washington, USA – Discovered that nose cells have tiny message receivers called receptors that help people smell.