She Space: A multi-disciplinary, project-based learning program for high school girls

Sivan Isaacson, Lonia Friedlander, Chen Meged, Shiran Havivi, Aviv Lee Cohen-Zada, Inbal Ronay, D. G. Blumberg, Shimrit Maman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research investigating the under-representation of women in science and technology fields has identified various causes. These include, a lack of inspiring female role-models, limited exposure of girls to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, gender-biased stereotypes, and preferences for different learning styles between genders. Dedicated to the ideas of women and space, the “She Space” research project for high school girls was a joint effort of the Earth and Planetary Image Facility (EPIF) at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and Beit Yatziv. The participants included 20 high-school aged female students and a predominantly female staff of up to eight university researchers and advanced degree students. The goal of this project was to advance and support female students engaging with various scientific fields and, in particular, the field of space science. The project emphasized the quality and development of the research process and used project-based learning to help participants learn to use a research-based approach when encountering challenging scientific concepts or subjects. This, together with active learning and teamwork was set as the educational framework to meet the different learning styles and motivational needs of girls. Furthermore, special attention was given to the suppression of gender stereotypes by 1) introducing women role models 2) overcoming self-induced prejudices related to STEM abilities by introducing new and unknown subjects (remote sensing), about which participants lack preconceptions. Using participant surveys, we found that self-reported confidence with and interest in STEM subjects increased after the project. We also found that participants’ feelings about participating in an all-female program did not noticeably change after the program. However, the vast majority (87%) of participants did report that having a majority female staff was very important to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume168
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Remote sensing
  • Space education
  • Women in STEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'She Space: A multi-disciplinary, project-based learning program for high school girls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this