Friends, clothes, trends – all highlights for a typical middle school girl.
How do you turn that focus toward math and science when studies have shown that girls do not perform as well academically in these subjects as their male peers?
In 2003, Communities In Schools Dallas Region, Inc. (CISDR), established the Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) program to help at-risk students improve their math and science skills and knowledge. As part of the CISDR initiatives, the GEMS program provides hands-on learning for the girls.
Through GEMS, approximately 100 middle school girls meet weekly during the school year and every day for two weeks in summer for hands-on, real-life explorations and field trips. Students strengthen their math skills; engage their imaginations; are introduced to potential careers that require skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and are exposed to successful female role models in math and science. The program takes school curriculum and incorporates activities that translate to the classroom.
The students’ progress in the program is tracked by grades in science and math and scores on Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests.