CyberHunt: Women Who Dared
- Grades: 3–5
Women's History Month is the perfect time to introduce your middle- and upper-graders to female pioneers in the sciences. Begin your Internet-based activities with the CyberHunt Reproducible, found at www.scholastic.com/cyberhuntkids
CYBERHUNT REPRODUCIBLE ANSWER GUIDE
2. A comet. In 1847.
3. Valentina Tereshkova. Russia.
4. Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees. To determine if women could actually qualify to become astronauts.
5. She was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. Polonium and radium.
6. Geneva Medical School, New York. The students voted her in as a joke.
7. Anthropology. "Mother of the World."
8. Humans are interdependent with nature.
Many women came into the science field by inventing useful everyday items, such as disposable diapers, eyeglasses, paper bags, liquid white out, and windshield wipers. Share their stories with students by visiting www.enchantedlearning.com/inventors/women.shtml, www.girlstart.com/lessons/history/class/lesson2.htm, http://inventors.about.com/library/blwomeninventors.htm, and www.si.edu/lemelson/centerpieces/ilives/womeninventors.html. Then invite small groups of students to choose favorite items invented by women and display drawings or cut-outs of these on a collage or diorama of a home, office, or city. Groups should label each item in their creations with the inventor's name.
Many women throughout history faced great obstacles while pursuing their chosen paths in science. Many women had their contributions ignored or originally credited to men; others had to struggle to be included in the field. Ask students to brainstorm the qualities that they think these women needed to succeed. What do they think the experience of working in a "man's world" was like? Invite pairs of students to research female scientists by visiting www.women-scientists-in-history.com, www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/figures.htm, www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/people/people.html, www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/flygirls/timeline/index.html, www.nps.gov/ever/eco/marjory.htm, www.rachelcarson.org, and the sites at left. Challenge groups to use their research—and their imagination—to present a scientist and her achievements to the class in the form of a first-person interview, with one student acting as the host, the other as the scientist. You might suggest questions such as: What can you tell us about your greatest accomplishments? What first sparked your interest in science? Did you experience "gender barriers" during your career? What was your job like? What is your advice to others interested in the field? Later, create a time line of the women for review.
In the Field
Many current-day female scientists are performing exciting work around the world. Ask students to consider an area of science that interests them, then read about women in those fields at www.fmnh.org/exhibits/exhibit_sites/wis, www.yourexpedition.com/umbrella_pages/pressroom/annbio.shtml, www.astronautix.com/articles/womspace.htm, www.janegoodall.org, www.girlpower.gov/girlarea/gpguests/spelman.htm, www.engineergirl.org, www.nationalgeographic.com/council/eir/index.html, and www.femexplorers.com/articles.html. After each student shares information about his or her scientist with the class, ask them to record their findings on a chart. Test students' knowledge of the careers of these women with this fun and easy classroom game: Write the names of the women your students researched on index cards and tape a card on the back of each student. Have students circle the room asking questions that require only yes or no answers. Can each student identify the name of the scientist he or she is wearing? For a quick language-arts activity, encourage students to write letters to any of the living women of science who inspire them.
Gail Skroback Hennessey (www.gailhennessey.com) teaches sixth-grade social studies at Harpursville Central Middle School in Harpursville, New York.
CYBERHUNT SAFETY: All of the sites chosen for the CyberHunt and activities have been reviewed by our staff. At press time, all links are safe. However, we strongly urge teachers to review all sites before sharing them with students.
These activities will work best with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, Netscape 4.0, or newer versions. Older browsers may experience difficulties with some links.
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