Building interest in Math, Science among middle school girls

| September 17, 2008

Sweet Briar College will host a one-day science workshop for girls in grades six through nine from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 in Guion Science Center.

“Building Big!” will be led by three local middle school teachers and four Sweet Briar science and engineering students serving roughly 64 middle school girls, said Amy McCarty, a high school physics and algebra teacher at Altavista Combined School in Campbell County. McCarty is organizing the program, which will be attended by students from public and private schools in Lynchburg and Amherst, Bedford and Campbell counties.

Nelson County gifted program coordinator Betty Tabony, Nelson Middle School teacher Walter Quick and Liberty Christian Academy teacher Dianne Carniol will conduct the hands-on activities with Sweet Briar students Rebecca A. Girten, MaryAnne Haslow-Hall, Kirsten Blaesing and Katelyn James.

“Building Big!” will focus on engineering. The middle schoolers will use everyday materials such as newspapers, straws and string to build mini-suspension bridges, skyscrapers and large domes. Haslow-Hall and James, both engineering majors, will conduct demonstrations of some of SBC Engineering’s machinery, such as the hardness and tensile tester.

The girls will conclude the day with a design challenge that they will solve in teams. The goal of the workshop is to increase girls’ interest in math and science while having fun, McCarty said.

The workshop is funded by an “Improving Teacher Quality” grant from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Under the grant program, Sweet Briar provides continuing education in math and science for public and private school teachers from 10 Central Virginia school districts.

For more information about the workshop, please contact McCarty at amccarty@sbc.edu.

— By Jennifer McManamay, SBC staff writer

Category: Mathematical Science