Learn about projects selected for the STEM Girls program 2nd edition
From cabocla medicine in Amazonas to coding solar sprinklers in Bahia, 30 projects in 11 states of Brazil and the federal district make the difference in gender inclusion
In its second edition, the STEM Girls: Educating Future Scientists is offering financial and technical support for 30 projects in the five regions of Brazil that encourage the broader participation of elementary and high school students girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The project was developed by the British Council in partnership with the STEM Education Hub and Fundação Carlos Chagas. The training course running from March to June is lead by Dr Jessica Hamer and Dr. Jenny Search. Hamer is researcher at King’s College London on barriers to teaching computing. Jessica also works at the Institute of Physics on projects that explore the barriers of physics. Search is Head of Education at the Center for Life, a museum in the North East of England. Both experts have collaborated on a number of projects that seek to improve participation in Physics in England. Learn more about the projects that teach from cabocla medicine in Amazonas to coding solar sprinklers in Bahia.
Hackaton – Future Teachers in Exact Sciences (Secondary Education) | Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Brazil
Activities: Awareness, events and hackaton
Background: The museum frequently organises activities in Robotics. Through partnership with the university, actions are designed to engage female students from Ensino Fundamental II and Ensino Médio (11-17 years) into science-related activities and gender themes, mainly when associated with science and women participation in the Exact Sciences.
Proposal: Train young Normal School female students who will teach in Ensino Fundamental I (6-10 years). The museum exhibitions will serve as a basis for the training activities, which are aimed at fostering creativity, raising environmental awareness and learning concepts in Robotics. Formal education experiments will also be adapted. A lecture on female presence in science is also expected, as well as visits to Museu da Vida [Life Museum] and Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins [Astronomy and Related Sciences Museum]), to get to know the venues and their experience with women and girls in science. Finally, there will be the development of a Hackaton techno-scientific project – from the Normal School female students` perceptions on the scientific challenges of pedagogical practice.
OruMbya – WOMEN of the socio-cultural-technological world | Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Brazil
Activities: Awareness and technology transfer
Background: The project came to life in an edition of the ‘International Meeting for the Exchange between African and Indigenous Cultures and Astronomy’ (‘Jornada Internacional entre as culturas afro, indígenas e a astronomia’). Its goal is to foster a debate grounded on culture and race among astronomers, researchers from different areas and Casa da Tia Ciata’s overall public. During the first stage of the project, a series of webinars on Exact and Social Sciences and a teacher training course on astronomy in different cultures were organised.
Proposal: Organise workshops specifically designed for black girls and build a space for the exchange of knowledge and learning. It will encompass five monthly meetings. The main outcome will be the development of a course aimed at women in STEM.
Girls at MAST | Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Brazil
Activities: Awareness and technology transfer
Background: The Museum has been committed to the engagement of female children and adolescents into STEM fields. It offers occasional and ongoing activities: the annual event ‘Girls’ Day at MAST’ and scientific pre-initiation research projects.
Proposal: Train two female teachers from the two associate public schools for the development of research projects with two groups consisting of 15 girls (one group from each partner school). In addition to fieldwork, science clubs will be created and run by the teachers and girls conducting scientific pre-initiation activities. There is a commitment to allocate funds to the clubs’ maintenance and to encourage participation in competitive and scientific events. Activities will be held at schools and at the Museum. A documentary on the project will be made.
Digital platforms: https://twitter.com/astromeninas
Revitalizing History In The Garden Of The Amazonas Education Institute – Iea: A Look At Cabocla Medicine | Amazonas, Northern Brazil
Activities: Awareness and technology transfer
Background: The project originated from the acknowledgment of the need to research the use of medicinal herbs according to indigenous popular knowledge.
Proposal: Fund garden improvement supplies, infrastructure, technical and laboratory equipment, and grants for the students taking part in the project. The goal is to make the garden ready for cultivation and then grow and maintain it. Simultaneously, research will be held on medicinal herbs, in themes such as science approved usage, indigenous usage and cultivation, vegetable cultivation. The students will also be responsible for the development of digital platforms. It’s also in the scope of the project to engage the community into revitalization activities, making the garden a place to visit, research and acquire information.
I’m a Woman, I’m Black, I’ll study exact sciences: 2nd Generation | Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Awareness and technology transfer event
Background: The Project emerged from the evaluation of school reality: the low numbers of former students joining STEM subjects at university level. The project’s goal is to evoke in young women – especially black – the desire to follow Exact Sciences careers. For this purpose, the project seeks to disseminate (and incentive) the trajectories of black female Brazilian scientists. Racial and gender empowerment is stimulated through discussions on black women participation in all work environments considered as “manly”.
Proposal: Hold weekly round tables with the school girls on female empowerment in science, as well as support workshops in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, and workshops about the history of women who stood out in the Exact Sciences. It is also planned a technical visit to the university’s Exact Sciences labs and the organisation of a career fair focusing on Exact Sciences. One of the goals is to encourage participation of the school’s female students in competitive events.
Tech Trail: Girls in Focus | São Paulo, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Workshops, maker culture
Background: Instituto Catalisador (‘The Catalyst Institute’) seeks to expand “transformative opportunities in education” to public school students through projects that address creativity-driven technology.
Proposal: Organise hands-on technology and creativity workshops for nine 8th and 9th grade classes (13-14 years). The main goal is to raise the awareness of participants to women’s place and potential in STEM related projects. The workshops will be mediated by educators from the Institute in partnership with teachers from Ensino Fundamental municipal schools. They are aimed at training teachers to reproduce acquired knowledge to peers. Round tables with students and women in university (undergraduates, master’s and PhD students, professors and researchers) will also be held. Each session will be made available on the Institute’s YouTube channel and posted on social media. The project is heavily based on the training of teachers and pedagogical coordinators from the region. The experience will be disseminated through the publication of a free online activity guide.
Project Makerspace/Wash Scientific Initiation | Paraná, Southern Brazil
Activities: Student training based on workshop
Background: The project stemmed from an “educational product” designed by the school coordinator during her master’s degree and applied in the school unit with the purpose of introducing students to scientific practice and research settings. With work underway, voluntary partnerships started to mount up, such as the program WASH (workshop for software and hardware fans), that focuses on scientific initiation together with IFPR professionals. The school has already organised four scientific initiation fairs based on STEAM related projects in basic education.
Proposal: The goal is to bring together theoretical contributions of the maker movement, research mediated education and the STEAM instructional approach. Since 2018, students aged five to eleven have been contemplated and were able to develop solutions to problems faced by the schools (examples: scorpion capture sensor simulator; motion simulator to develop fine motor coordination; inclusion proposal for school settings, with the completion of virtual forms using an ocular mouse; homemade compost bin used to recycle leftovers from school meals; alcohol gel dispenser made with recycled materials; construction of air-powered toys to be donated during the pandemic; and a free of charge public lighting simulator, programmed by micro bit, to be used at the school’s front façade).
Pre-Scientific Initiation Program for Girls | São Paulo, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Workshops, meetings, scientific initiation, scientific exhibition
Background: The school features a science club focused on scientific production and a pre-scientific initiation program. The goal is to strengthen the integral education program, which has at its core the ‘Life Project’ (‘Projeto de Vida’). Gender issues are highlighted through the admission of female students in the school’s science programs and in career choices in STEM areas. Female students’ participation in scientific projects and fairs has enticed interest and engagement from fellow students in developing skills related to STEM.
Proposal: The incoming students will be welcomed with lectures conducted by female leaders in STEM areas from academia, industry, politics, etc. Then the students will have the chance to design and put in practice projects of interest. There are also plans to organise the exhibition ‘STEMeninas da Escola’ (‘STEM School Girls’) and replicate the project in other schools in the region with the help of online meetings between students.
Scientific Connection | Brasília, Federal District
Activities: Dissemination activities; material production; digital media elaboration (podcast); technical visits in locus to research groups of project collaborators
Background: The project was based on research data from schools (Ensino Fundamental and Médio) under the jurisdiction of Brazil’s Federal District Department of Education: most students think of ‘a scientist’ as a white man. Therefore, the goal is to provide meaningful learning experiences with an interdisciplinary approach. Playful and practical pedagogical resources are given preference in order to encourage creativity and criticality and collaborate with digital technology inclusion and innovative teaching methods and practices.
Proposal: Production of teaching and audio-visual content to assist teachers (e.g. videos, podcasts, games, interactive texts, scientific experiments and posts). Research dissemination through videos, podcasts or interactive texts. Basic school teachers will be responsible for linking the research themes with the learning goals developed in class. Organisation of a meeting at school with students, teachers and scientists for the presentation of research projects developed at the university and inside the schools, discussions about current scientific topics and the sharing of experiences. Visit to research labs assisted by a scientist and his research team. Assembly of research groups and development of scientific projects by school students. Female researchers and teachers will act as mediators in this new project. Professional development course on scientific education and science popularisation for the network’s teachers. Production of videos for a YouTube channel, podcasts for Spotify, scientific games, interactive texts, scientific posts for Instagram, scientific experiments (selected and tested) and a primer with the tested didactic sequences for pedagogical support to the project.
LabioPLANTE – Laboratory of Social and Environmental Education | Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Practical activities, production of material and itinerant laboratory
Background: LabioPLANTE is a lab composed of young science teachers, whose goal is to promote environmental education actions that help disseminate scientific knowledge applied to and focused on solving daily life problems. Works with the dissemination of simplified/translated scientific knowledge in schools and communities.
Proposal: The aim is to develop an itinerant lab equipped for the diffusion of scientific practice and make it available to schools deprived of science labs. Field classes are expected to occur, hence the request for funding for food, pedagogic material for the development of didactic models, agricultural and laboratory tools to be used in eco-pedagogical experiences and experiments.
Low cost automated solar sprinkler using the Esp-32 microcontroller | Bahia, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Programming studies; specialists/researchers in the field of agronomy and/or biology; studies on electrical circuits; studies on application development; operation of electronic components
Background: Project developed by a group of Ensino Médio female students from a state public school. The constant droughts that hinder irrigation in rural areas of Bahia’s Sertão region stimulated the girls to put forward a project intended to benefit local agriculture. Through research, they found a solar irrigator developed in 2017 by Embrapa. With the pandemic and the increase of agrochemicals’ usage licensing, many home gardens started to be cultivated.
The project was designed to facilitate irrigation in residential gardens and includes the development of an app for monitoring garden’s grown at home.
Proposal: There will be research on app programming and development, electronic components and electrical circuits. It is also planned a soil moisture analysis for each vegetable grown and the implementation of the project with the irrigator in use.
Youth leadership in sustainable environmental actions | Brasília, Federal District
Activities: Technology transmission and teacher training
Background: The initiative derives from a range of projects about gender and racial equality developed alongside school girls from Ensino Fundamental and Médio (6-17 years). The projects take part in scientific calls and events in the fields of STEM and environmental education. Students are encouraged to engage in scientific initiation projects. Since 2018, sustainability related themes have been addressed through a transdisciplinary approach in school curricula.
Proposal: Organise recycling workshops focused on sustainable products that will be used to plant a vegetable garden, build an irrigation system and make soap reusing food waste from the school. The workshops also target the development of social-entrepreneurial skills for the exchange and trade of products in the community. Throughout the project, 19 scientific initiation girls from Ensino Fundamental and Médio (6-11 years) will be in charge of collecting data on relevant issues and conduct interviews with experts. Multiplier groups focused on gender equity will be created.
Everyday Mathematics: with Girls Developing Ethnomathematical Empirical Knowledge in the Exact Sciences | Pará, Northern Brazil
Activities: Activities with students, valuing women’s participation in science
Background: The project originated from the participation of a group of female students at a university’s scientific exhibition.
Proposal: Development of teaching material inspired by social and mathematical contexts. The participating girls will organise a seminar about the importance of women in science. They will also carry out research on the community’s experiences and popular wisdom concerning ethno-mathematical knowledge. A meeting will be held to present the outcomes to the community.
Include Girls: Empowering Girls To Work With Computational Thinking | Paraná, Southern Brazil
Activities: Awareness and technology transfer event
Background: The goal of the project is to spread STEM related themes in order to evoke girls` interest in technology related fields through the development of programs, robots, games, embedded systems. It encompasses three subdivisions: scientific initiation in theory and practice; school activities (a lecture introducing the project, a presentation of the Computer Engineering graduation course for girls from Ensino Fundamental and Médio, a visit to the exhibition ‘Women in Computing’, a film discussion on women in computing and their representativeness); and dissemination on social media of the project and the work of women in the Exact Sciences.
Proposal: Scientific initiation for female undergraduates studying Computer Engineering at Rio Grande do South State University (UERGS) so that they can monitor the activities of basic education girls. The group’s teachers will also be involved in debates, workshops, lectures and lab experiments to be held both at school and the university. The aim is to encourage participation in competitive events. There will also be the dissemination of the project on social media.
Future researchers in microbiology: experiencing the diversity of microorganisms | Maranhão, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Visit to laboratories with experiments and possible selection of 3 girls for IC
Background: Microbiology, Pathology and Biotechnology Research Group focused on assessing the quality of the State of Maranhão’s fishing industry.
Proposal: Work with public school girls enrolled in Ensino Médio (15-17 years) overseeing the development stages of a project and research practices in Microbiology labs.
Investigate girl! | Goiás, Midwest Brazil
Activities: Training teachers and proposing specific activities with students
Background: Coletivo Negro/a (black collective) has an approach to science focused on connecting and critically discussing racial, gender and sexuality relations inside schools.
Proposal: In-school training of teachers and students by black female researchers/scientists. The goal is to promote the trajectories of -and research developed by – black female Brazilian scientists. For such a purpose, pedagogical interventions will be organised, and teaching materials that address scientific concepts and the leading role of black female scientists from Brazil will be produced.
High-tech girls | Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil
Activities: Lectures in schools; visits to laboratories, itinerant library and teacher training
Background: Interdisciplinary research and extension project (encompasses Exact and Human Sciences) that offers courses on gender, feminism and women in Science and Technology.
Proposal: Organise workshops on programming, game development and gender, as well as film discussions with public school students (from all ages). Offer training workshops and lectures for teachers (multipliers) on in-class research, anti-sexist teaching practices, stereotypes, and gender equity. Produce teaching material for schools. Engage students enrolled in the Institution’s courses in the project’s activities, reducing the likelihood of dropouts. The goal is to expand operations to ten schools in four different municipalities in the region.
Keeping an eye on Chemistry | Piauí, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Teacher training and awareness-raising work in schools
Background: The concern with school dropouts and age-grade gaps in the region gave birth to the extension project run by the Brazilian Chemistry Teaching Degree Collegiate (Colegiado de Licenciatura em Química), which carries out in-school experimental activities with the assistance of undergraduate female students.
Proposal: Develop activities in Experimental Chemistry using everyday life materials and reagents. Organise debates on issues taught at school, experimentation, public health, and the importance of women in science. Encourage and train undergraduate students and students enrolled in Ensino Médio (15-17 years) for the development of research in Chemistry. Disseminate science on social media. Organise scientific events in public schools.
Sowing Science: Girls in the Field! | São Paulo, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Awareness and technology transfer
Background: The project has been connecting public schools with female scientists from different subject areas through online meetings focused on promoting academic trajectories as a means of countering stereotypes.
Proposal: Bringing theory and practice together, environmental education is conceived as a tool driving collective health. The project makes use of practical and experimental procedures present in scientific research to improve curricula in the field of Natural Sciences. It develops training programmes for students and teachers (depicted as ‘mediators’ of knowledge production) as a way to better inform communities surrounding six public schools in the states of Bahia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Girls 4.0 – Connection to Change the World | Bahia, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Robotics and app workshops with undergraduate and MS students
Background: The initiative organises lectures, workshops and round tables at the University Centre and at Ensino Médio and Fundamental schools (students from 6 to 17 years).
Proposal: Hold interactive lecture classes and lab practices with the purpose of developing teaching kits and mobile robotics educational prototypes used in the workshops. Organise workshops for the development of apps, programming and the challenges of ultrasonic sensors. It aspires to expand to other Fundamental and Médio schools.
Exact Sciences as a female professional option – Girls in Chemistry | Rio de Janeiro, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Awareness raising and technology transfer
Background: It began with the line of research ‘Gender Relations in Chemistry Classes’ and was later expanded as an extension action aimed at addressing schools as promoters/deconstructors of the discourses that naturalise and reinforce female students’ underperformance and faulty skills in Exact and Nature Sciences subjects.
Proposal: Debates will be held on gender and beauty standards and their connection to scientific themes (natural products, water treatment, emulsification, etc.), environmental sustainability, socio-economic relations and the concept of ‘Economy 4.0’. These various debates will serve as a starting point for the production of cosmetics within the context of investigative experimentation. The aim is to create products based on environmental sustainability and artificial intelligence. Visits to laboratories are planned (as well as to other cultural spaces inside the university). They will feature workshops, and school teachers will be offered training on multidisciplinary projects development. There will also be an introduction to scientific professions related to experiments and to women scientists.
Digital platforms: https://linktr.ee/meninasnaquimicaufrj
Scientist Girls in Maré | São Paulo, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Workshops for students, visits to laboratories, scientific communication
Background: The proposing group has experience in research and extension projects. In this project, it partnered with professionals from the institute Arte no Dique, which offers training to the local community. The group contributes with science introduction workshops for children and adolescents, an action committed to socio-environmental progress.
Proposal: “Citizen Science” project with 20 girls aged 8 to 13 from Brazil’s largest stilt houses favela (in Santos – SP). The girls take part in the Municipality of Santos’ Integral Education Program and attend the institute Arte no Dique outside regular school hours. In this particular project, they will be responsible for monitoring the environmental health of the favela Dique da Vila Gilda, alongside technical education students, undergraduate and graduate students and university professors. The institute Arte no Dique will host workshops on environmental issues and scientific method training (data collection, analysis and processing). Fieldwork and sample analysis will be supervised by university professors. Analyses will be carried out both at the university and inside the laboratory of the municipal school Primeiro de Maio. Two scientific exhibitions are planned to be held at the institute and at the school to present the reSouthts, in addition to the development of awareness content inside the community.
Revitalization – Science Room | Pará, Northern Brazil
Activities: Reform of the Laboratory
Background: For years, the teacher has been requesting from management and several supervisory bodies the renovation of the science room in order to develop practical activities.
Proposal: Improvement and innovation of the teaching-learning process through the enhancement of scientific lexicon.
Digital Sisters | Pará, Northern Brazil
Background: Research and extension project encompassing three local universities; a partner of the Digital Girls Program of the Brazilian Computing Society (‘Programa Meninas Digitais da Sociedade Brasileira de Computação’). The goal is to promote digital inclusion through programming classes in Ensino Fundamental and Médio and encourage women into IT careers.
Proposal: Launch game versions on application platforms and on the project’s website. Organise event to disseminate the girls’ work process.
Rocket Girls: Girls in Science | Paraná, Southern Brazil
Activities: Rocket workshops and teacher training and awareness-raising
Background: It started from a mini-rocket competition group formed by undergraduate students. Members then launched science clubs teaching how to build mini-rockets. The project’s goal is to encourage female participation in STEM related careers. Funding from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPQ) and from the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) has contributed to awards, scholarships, exchange programs and publications.
Proposal: Training sessions in the form of short courses, lectures and round tables will be conducted by the teachers in charge, and the scholarship awarded students will organise and take part in events, science clubs and competitions. Mini-rockets will be built for competition and reforestation. Participants will be offered classes on scientific writing, research project development and reforestation using mini-rockets. A course on medicinal herbs and financial mathematics will be offered. Round tables and a play performed at schools will prompt the debate on issues of gender, feminism and women in science. Dissemination of activities and reSouthts.
Girls in Exact Sciences: From Meteorological Stations to Scientific Initiation | Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil
Activities: Awareness-raising, teacher training, technology transfer
Background: The extension program seeks to: bring female students from Ensino Fundamental II and Médio (6th grade onwards [11-17 years] ) into science and professional careers in Science and Technology; discuss gender stereotypes and roles socially ascribed to men and women; and develop training programmes with and for educators (regardless of gender), that specifically deal with gender issues and education in science.
Proposal: Provide further training for the schools’ teachers on topics such as Physics, Astronomy and Geography, and Programming, in order to enable the use of educational technologies by teachers and educators (regardless of gender) in class. During training, impressions on teaching practices designed to overcome gender stereotypes in science and school will be encouraged. A weather station will be assembled at each school. Four students will be selected from each school for scientific initiation and will act as monitors and multipliers of the formative actions in their schools, under the supervision of a unit’s teacher. This group of monitors and supervising teachers will be in charge of installing the weather station and collecting and analysing data, which will in turn become a scientific initiation project to be submitted to science fairs. The goal is to encourage the incorporation of teaching approaches that promote curricular activities in Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Geography inspired by the school’s weather station.
Girls from Bahia in Science | Bahia, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Workshops, meetings, mentorships
Background: The project arose from the institution’s interest in fostering the awareness of public school girls from the city towards areas in Science and Technology. In the first editions, the girls were introduced to women scientists and their trajectories, and attended lectures and workshops on topics related to Health Sciences.
Proposal: Activities with public school girls aged 15 to 17 will be carried out at the institution’s labs, as well as online or face-to-face monthly meetings with coordinators and guest researchers, and science workshops with researchers and post-graduate students. Mentorship will be focused on the design and development of science projects and includes training in related techniques. There will be a presentation of the research projects developed.
Plant knowledge | Bahia, Northeast Brazil
Activities: Training offered in STEM Education, Gender and Race; scientific and technical workshops; IC activities
Background: The coordinators wanted to contribute to safeguard usage and knowledge of local medicinal herbs, connecting interested parties to popular and traditional masters.
Proposal: There is an intention to establish a network of collaborators for the project (interested parties, popular and traditional masters, students from Ensino Médio, undergraduates, teachers and institutions based in the city). Ten students (primarily girls) from Ensino Médio will be selected and trained as young multipliers of knowledge related to medicinal herbs. Workshops will be offered on relevant topics on the knowledge about medicinal herbs, as well as technical fieldworks to the university, ranch and/or farm for lab practice and a visit to the city’s pharmaceutical industries. Two communal medicinal gardens will be built, one at the university and the other at a school yet to be jointly selected by city authorities and the network’s members.
Girls in Scientific Initiation | São Paulo, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Training in Scientific Methodology for students, elaboration of IC project; promotion of campus day and practical workshops
Background: The group consists of Engineering female students who take part in a sustainability learning project. The current project is a follow-up to this former project.
Proposal: Training will be offered in scientific methodology, programming and development of projects in Arduino, Artificial Intelligence and related to clean and affordable energy based on SDG 7. In addition, students organised in groups will conceive how activities are to be conducted. They will visit university labs featuring lectures and/or round tables with female teachers and graduate and undergraduate students, as well as participate in scientific fairs and project presentation initiatives to the local community.
Digital platforms: https://instagram.com/ieeewieguara
Black Women Doing Science | Rio de Janeiro, Southeast Brazil
Activities: Awareness-raising activities via workshops with secondary students; robotics workshops; scientific divulgation; material production
Background: This extension project emerged from a workshop with the same name. Since then, a regular study group and a scientific initiation programme for female students have been established. It’s an interinstitutional project that enables university-school integration and encourages the scientific interest and development of young black girls from basic and higher education.
Proposal: Develop teaching material about black female scientists and organise audio-visual workshops on gender, ethnic-racial relations and science (film discussion and production) and workshops on Robotics and Programming at schools. Teaching material produced by the female researchers and by the proposing team will be used, and other female scientists will be invited to participate in its composition. A final research report is expected and will provide recommendations on effective actions related to gender and race equity in science for the institutions taking part.