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Techgirl: A Website For Middle School Girls Interested In Science And Engineering

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Outreach: Future Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1091.1 - 8.1091.11



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Paper Authors

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Sasha Pasulka

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Sandhya Pillalamarri

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Milica Milovancevic

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Michael Wagner

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Meena Nimmagadda

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James Adams

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Anjali Gupta

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Mary Anderson-Rowland

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1692

TechGirl: A Website for Middle-School Girls Interested In Science and Engineering

James B. Adams, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland, Meena Nimmagadda, Michael Wagner, Milica Milovancevic, Anjali Gupta, Sandhya Pillalamarri, Sasha Pasulka

Arizona State University


TechGirl is an exciting, dynamically evolving, interactive website dedicated to helping middle school girls learn about science and engineering. It is intended to help them develop an appreciation for the beneficial impact of science and engineering on society, and to encourage them to consider a possible career in science and engineering. The site contains three major parts: a role-playing game, a science/engineering knowledge game, and biographical sketches. A discussion of the site, initial assessment, and the initial impact on young women will be discussed in the paper.

Keywords: Women in Engineering, Middle School Education, Interactive Website

I. Introduction

Studies have shown that middle school is a critical time in human development that often determines life orientation and long-term success. In particular, middle school girls’ experiences with math and science during this time could set them on a course that does not include much math and science later in their life. Studies show that math and science teachers treat girls and boys differently in the classroom, including making more eye contact with the boys, paying more attention to the boys, and challenging boys to find the right answer, while girls get sympathy 1. Astin and Astin found, as have other studies, that boys tend to operate the equipment while the girls record data and write reports. They saw that a loss in self-confidence from differential treatment appears to begin around the seventh grade and continue through high school 1. The most striking differences between boys and girls are not in achievement or opportunities to learn, but in their attitudes toward science and mathematics 2. Research has continually shown that women are significantly less confident than men in their math and science abilities, even when they receive the same grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Margolis and Fisher conclude from this research that girls in elementary school generally like math, but by high school they are less likely than boys to feel competent in math, despite their higher grades 3! Margolis and Fisher 3 also report that Koch 8, a

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Pasulka, S., & Pillalamarri, S., & Milovancevic, M., & Wagner, M., & Nimmagadda, M., & Adams, J., & Gupta, A., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (2003, June), Techgirl: A Website For Middle School Girls Interested In Science And Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12575

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