About Me Profile

11th August 2014


Lego Creates Female Scientist Set Months After 7-Year-Old Girl Called Their Female Toys "Boring" →

I would completely buy this if it were not already sold out! We need more women in science toys for our young girls and boys. It is good to see Lego responding to the public in this positive way. I would prefer that Legos returned to being gender neutral, but for now let’s just hope that they continue similarly themed toys.

Tagged: gender marketingeducational toysparentingLegowomen in scienceeducationmedia

Source: BuzzFeed

31st July 2014


The Words Every Woman Should Know →

This isn’t generally the type of article I would pay too much attention to as when I worked as a female engineer, I never really noticed any major biases or slights based on my gender. However, a recent experience of a man who is apparently “internet famous” repeatedly interrupting me at a social function at the Caltech reunion made this strike a chord. I don’t think I generally get interrupted when I talk because when he kept doing it, I definitely noticed, and it was damned annoying. He would ask me a question and then interrupt me before I had answered. Seriously? 

Now he was a old Caltech alum which indicates that he probably never was a social charmer, but this article indicates that it happens much more often than I would have suspected. Girls, don’t put up with that crap!

Tagged: womenfeminismgender biaseducationfemale education

Source: alternet.org

27th July 2014

Video with 2 notes

Microwave Ivory Soap- Cool Science Experiment

Now I have been a fan of Ivory soap for years. First because one of my classmates’ sixth grade science experiments found that less bacteria grew from a facial swap after washing with Ivory than other soaps for oily skin (Dove was best for dry skin- I make no claims to the rigor of 6th grade science experiments, but it left a strong impression on my 12 year old self.) Then later. I learned it was one of the gentlest soaps available for people with many allergies and sensitive skin. We have been importing Ivory into Australia for years until it has finally arrived with our new Costco opening. However, I never particularly paid attention to its floating nature or knew that it made a fabulous foamy science experiment for kids. Super cool!

Tagged: ivoryscience experimenteducationfunsoap

Source: youtube.com

25th June 2014


A Guy Cools A Coke For 3 Hours And Pours. You'll NEVER Believe What Poured Out! →

I have never been that big a fan of slurpees, but this still look like a really cool trick. It would be a great science experiment for kids too!

Tagged: scienceexperimenteducationfuncokescience experimentvideo

Source: sfglobe.com

8th June 2014

Link with 3 notes

How To Make Edible Water Bottles | IFLScience →

Okay, I don’t see this as being particularly useful at replacing water bottles, BUT that doesn’t mean it isn’t super cool. Plus it would make an EXCELLENT home science experiment if you have any little ones underfoot. 

Tagged: scienceeducationparentingwaterexperimentat home experiment

Source: iflscience.com

2nd June 2014


Brazilian Kids Learn English by Talking to Lonely Chicago Seniors →

This is a cool idea for kids to learn new languages in the internet age. 

Tagged: languageeducationBrazildigital age

Source: Gawker

4th April 2014


Catherine Rampell: Women shouldn’t chase after A’s in college to make more later →

This is interesting as I am a woman that was never bothered by B’s and in some cases they were an amazing accomplishment. However, I am also one of the uncommon women with a STEM degree who enjoyed working as an engineer. This kind of follows the articles I have posted before about women’s difficulty problem solving because we are told from a young age that we are good so when we find we are not, we give up and move to something else. This is covered more eloquently in the link from my previous post:

The Trouble with Bright Girls

Tagged: women in sciencegirlsgirl's educationwomeneducation

19th March 2014


I Opted My Kids Out of Standardized Tests. Then My Education Began. →

Okay, I am all for some standardized testing and teacher accountability, but from what I can tell testing has completely gotten out of hand in the US. Testing for testing’s sake is not useful. Testing without then having time to teach to improve test scores is also not useful. Having an opt out option and then having parents bullied is just bad. US education needs an overhaul badly, but it seems No Child Left Behind and Common Core are moving everything in exactly the opposite direction of actually getting kids better educated. Wake up America! Say NO to these unproductive reforms and demand real reforms. 

Tagged: educationUS dissentparentingeducation reformstandardized testing

Source: Slate

18th March 2014


A Lota Family Day Care Owner Thought She had an Intruder →

I really admire this local woman who can have such a positive attitude about a large python breaking into her kitchen. She wants to use it as an educational opportunity about how to treat animals with respect for her daycare kids. I wish I could say my reaction would have been so calm and thoughtful. I love wildlife, but a snake in the house would freak me the hell out. Though not so much today as years ago. 

Tagged: wildlifesnakepythonQLDLotaeducationconservation

Source: couriermail.com.au

21st January 2014

Link with 2 notes

Everyone Should Be Required To Look At This Toy Ad →

I honestly am not sure how concerned we should be about these children’s toy ads, but it does seem like there is a lot of sexualization going on and the anorexic My Little Pony is not good. I also don’t get the excessive pink in girl’s toys and how LEGOS now come in girl and boy flavors. They are LEGOS and are equally as fun in any color.

So are little girls really falling for these barf pink toys? Or are they stealing their brother’s LEGOs and matchbox cars, just like I did? I had some girl toys growing up and I had some boy toys, but it seems at the time most of the toys had no gender preference.  

Tagged: educationparentingtoysgirls

Source: The Huffington Post

13th December 2013


Anti-princess marketing and girls' education: Mercy Academy vs. GoldieBlox →

And while I have brought up Goldie Blox, let’s discuss a bit. I don’t have kids so I have kind of been oblivious to this ridiculous pink, plastic princess marketing that has apparently been going on towards little girls for a while now. When I was a little girl, I revolted against the adorable doll dresses my mom put me in pretty much as soon as I could talk. My favorite toys were stuffed animals, LEGOS, matchbox cars, spools (like the ones thread comes on), marbles. I had a few Barbies, My Little Ponies, and other “girl” toys. It was probably a well balanced mix which is kind of what I assumed most girls would have. 

Apparently, this is not true and perhaps never was if the previous post with the teacher that never played with LEGOS is any indication. As a female interested in science I fully support toys for boys and girls that encourage both genders to seek technical careers. Since I know these fields are lacking in women, I think toys that teach and are attractive to women are particularly good so in theory I think Goldie Blox is awesome with what they are trying to do. 

However, about the same time their now removed Beastie Boys ad went viral, I started seeing comments on my Facebook supporting the concept, but not supporting the execution. A friend finally pointed me to this article that explains well while the concept is great, but maybe it is still trying to cater to the “princess culture” a little too much to be beneficial.  

Tagged: educationgirl's educationparentingwomen in scienceGoldie Blox

Source: rebeccahains.wordpress.com

12th December 2013


Using LEGO to Build Math Concepts | Scholastic.com →

Okay, I am kind of perplexed about this person who grew up in the last half of the 20th century and *did not* play with LEGOS. I never really considered them a gender specific toy. They were just FUN. Are there really women out there who didn’t play with building toys? I guess the media storm that Goldie Blox has created would suggest that there are a lot more Lego deprived girls that I would like to know about.

Along that same theme, are there adults under 45 that don’t still have a nice generic set of Legos stashed away for times of extreme stress and maybe a LEGOStar Wars X fighter or two? I am just weird, right? Top on my Christmas wish list this year is Tinker Toys- somehow I missed out of them as a kid, but do you know how hard it is to find real, wooden tinker toys now? Shameful.

Anyway, of course Legos are a great way to demonstrate math, but they certainly didn’t show up in my elementary math class so I feel a bit deprived. I think bringing more hand on activities to math learning is an excellent idea so good for Alycia for waking up to the possibilities of Legos late in life. 

Tagged: educationlegomath educationwomen in science

Source: scholastic.com

22nd October 2013

Link with 1 note

Mother shuns Disney Princess ideal and dresses daughter up as five REAL heroines from history to commemorate fifth birthday →

What an awesome idea! I think celebrating real female heroines makes a lot more sense that getting too caught up in the Disney princess fairy tale. Fairy tales aren’t bad in moderation, but setting realistic expectations of what women really can accomplish by doing instead of being has a lot of benefit to young girls and society. I think being Helen Keller for Halloween would be awesome. Who would you be?

Tagged: feminismparentingeducationcreative

8th August 2013


Journey of Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Education is always one of the most critical things in a serious conservation effort, and the younger kids can be educated the more what they learn will become a part of them. The tiny spoonbill sandpiper is on the brink of extinction, and they migrate through Asia which does not have a strong conservation heritage (not that any part of the world does really). Huge efforts are going into nest monitoring, head starting young, a captive breeding program, and as this video shows a education program throughout the countries where the spoonbill sandpiper summers, winters, and migrates through. This isn’t the most captivating video, but I think the education program is very important and it is important to share what they have been doing. Keep your fingers crossed for the little sandpiper!

Tagged: conservationendangered speciesspoonbill sandpipereducationAsia

Source: youtube.com

25th July 2013


Math, Science Popular Until Students Realize They’re Hard →

I am somewhat suspicious of small scale studies at isolated schools because I think the results can vary a lot depending on the particular demographic or strength of that school. What is true for one small liberal arts school may not be true for all small liberal arts school and surely isn’t true if you tried to apply the finding to a technical school. 

However, I think this study’s result is pretty obvious and probably does apply over many schools. Many people leave math and science programs because they are extremely challenging. Math and science are also not always taught well which does not help. I think it is also probably more discouraging to today’s generation who have been taught they are always a winner to realize that hard work may not always result in great grades. This can be true in any subject, but it is particularly true with math and science classes. 

What I most like about this article though is the conclusion that the researchers came to that kids need better math and science preparation long before college if society wants more math and science graduates. I think good math and science education should begin in elementary school and that teachers should be taught how to teach their subjects with creativity and flexibility. How hard math and science courses are depends on how good your foundation is. Just about everyone can have a good math foundation if teachers know how to demonstrate concepts in different ways as students often need several different examples before they “get it.”

Tagged: educationmathscienceSTEM degrees

Source: The Wall Street Journal