The Girl Scouts STEM Program

Girls push boundaries, test limits, and look at the world around them with inquisitive eyes. They're natural scientists!

Girl Scouts introduces girls of every age to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences relevant to everyday life. Whether they're discovering how a car's engine runs, how to manage finances, or exploring careers in STEM fields, girls are fast-forwarding into the future.

STEM and the National Program

Every girl needs a chance to explore the fascinating world of STEM. Girl Scouting encourages girls of all ages by offering "fun with purpose" through its K–12 national program. The Girl Scout program includes two curriculum resources: National Leadership Journeys and National Proficiency Badges .

Leadership Journeys are core to Girl Scouting because they lead girls to discover what they care about and change the world. Girls explore a variety of interests along a Journey, everything from the arts to the outdoors and, of course, STEM.

There are three Leadership Journeys:

It's Your World—Change It! It's Your Planet—Love It! It's Your Story—Tell It!

STEM and It's Your Planet—Love It! Journey Series

Here are examples of what girls are doing on the It's Your Planet—Love It! Journey:

  • Girl Scout Daisies explore the world of nature.
  • Girl Scout Brownies learn about the water cycle.
  • Girl Scout Juniors complete energy audits in buildings.
  • Girl Scout Cadettes learn to assess air quality.
  • Girl Scout Seniors calculate their "food print" and learn kitchen science while preparing a locavore meal.
  • Girl Scout Ambassadors "do the math" to figure out how much trash is created and how to reduce it.

Our Unique Approach to the National STEM Program

Girl Scouts' approach to STEM is unique because:

  • STEM experiences are framed within the context of leadership: As girls participate in Girl Scouting, they develop leadership skills to make the world a better place. Research shows girls are more interested in STEM careers when they know how their work can help others.
  • The Girl Scout Leadership Experience engages girls through the three Girl Scout processes of: girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning.

Here's how these processes provide quality STEM experiences for girls:

Girl-led: Even when a girl has an interest in STEM, she might find that boys take the lead in a school environment due to unspoken assumptions about gender roles. Girl Scouts offers a safe, supportive place for girls to seek challenges. The girl-led process encourages girls to decide which topics they want to explore and how they want to go about it.

Learning by doing: Research shows that, particularly with STEM, youth need to be hands-on, active learners. The learning-by-doing process encourages this approach. In addition, Girl Scouts' learning-by-doing process involves a reflection step that asks girls to think about how a given activity worked and what they would do differently in the future—a key skill in scientific testing and conducting experiments.

Cooperative learning: In general, girls prefer a collaborative leadership style, rather than the traditional, top-down, "command and control" approach. The cooperative learning process gives girls the opportunity to develop leadership and STEM skills in a way that might feel most comfortable.

STEM and Proficiency Badges

In Girl Scouting, girls learn skills on specific topics when they earn badges. Girl Scout badges were recently refreshed to reflect girls' interests and to focus on 21st century skills. Many badges use STEM

activities in fun ways. For example, the Cook, Artist, and Athlete Legacy badges all involve STEM. In addition, several new badge categories specifically relate to STEM:

The Naturalist badges invite girls to explore the outdoors. As girls learn to love nature, they're inspired to protect the environment. Girls can earn the Naturalist badge at each level from Brownies through Ambassadors: Bugs (Brownie), Flowers (Junior), Trees (Cadette), Sky (Senior), and Water (Ambassador).

Activities linked to the Digital Art badges help girls build valuable technology skills. These badges include Computer Expert (Brownie), Digital Photographer (Junior), Digital Movie Maker (Cadette), and Website Designer (Senior).

Science and Technology badges connect girls to science topics they love from the development of video games to the physics of roller coasters to the technology used to create new fabrics. These badges include Home Scientist (Brownie), Entertainment Technology (Junior), Science of Happiness (Cadette), and Science of Style (Senior).

As girls earn their Innovation badges, they solve problems by using methods from many fields such as anthropology, engineering, graphic design, and business. These badges include Inventor (Brownie), Product Designer (Junior), Entrepreneur (Cadette), and Social Innovator (Senior).

Financial Literacy badges prepare girls for a sound financial future. Girls learn how to save, spend, and give to others. These 13 badges cover a full K–12 curriculum, with Money Manager (Brownie), Philanthropist (Brownie), Financing My Future (Senior), and Good Credit (Ambassador) a sample of the badges girls can earn.

Finally, every girl can earn a Make Your Own badge each year. This option allows girls to design their own learning experiences (an important skill in becoming a lifelong learner) around any topic that interests them, including STEM.

Read the Report

"Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math" is a research report from the Girl Scout Research Institute released in February 2012. The report examines interest and engagement in the subjects and fields of STEM, from the voices of 1,000 girls nationwide, ages 8-18. Girls are interested in STEM fields and aspire to STEM careers the study shows, but need more exposure and adult support to carry this interest into the future. Find out more information on this report. including tip sheets for parents and girls.

Partners and Initiatives

  • Reaches underserved girls. Some projects—such as IMAGINE: Your STEM Future . funded by AT&T, and Imagine Engineering . funded by the National Science Foundation—offer girls from low-income and underserved communities the chance to experience STEM and plan for futures in STEM fields.
  • Provides access to materials and mentors. Initiatives such as the FIRST Robotics teams funded by Motorola, UTC, and Google, and the Journey and Connect Through Technology initiative funded by Dell—give girls access to materials and mentors so they can explore fields such as robotics and information technology in depth.
  • Offers content expertise and career exposure. Partners such as Ingersoll Rand and NASA provide content expertise and career exposure in, for example, energy conservation and aerospace.
  • Connects girls to inspiring role models. Girl Scouts also works with partners such as the New York Academy of Sciences, an institution that connects youth with STEM experts and inspires them to pursue STEM careers. basics in computer science


Category: Computer Science

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