One day after school, Eva, a Girls Inc. Elementary School Coordinator, got a call from a staff member to come to the playground as soon as possible. Fearing there might be a problem, she raced outside and found the staff member standing with two elementary school students, staring at a pigeon.
“Shhh, Look, Miss Eva!” said one of them excitedly. “We found a bird!”
While this might ordinarily be seen as unusual behavior, the participants’ excitement to find this somewhat mundane animal sprung from their engagement in Science Action Club, which Girls Inc. provides for upper elementary school children in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences.
Many girls’ confidence and interest in science begin to drop by middle school, and for girls from under-resourced communities, the gap can be even bigger. But at Girls Inc., girls move outside the classroom to engage in an exciting hands-on exploration of the world around them. They study bugs. They study ecosystems. And, of course, they study birds. At the end of last year, 85% of girls in Science Action Club agreed that learning about science can help them better understand the natural world.
The two participants told Eva everything they knew about the pigeon they found— like how its beak was adapted to the food it ate, and how its wings worked. And then they asked if she would walk with them to the garden at the front of the school to observe different birds. Of course, she agreed. In fact, it became a weekly ritual for the three of them to explore the school ecosystem, finding more birds every time. And as they explored, they learned about science— not just the science in their classrooms, but the science all around them.