OK, so I have my plan for entertaining the Eureka! girls (see previous post), and have decided that since we will potentially be getting these girls again and again, I should probably think about how this fits into the bigger picture. I will discuss it in more detail in a future post, but I thought first I would talk a little more about the process involved in making it.
In making my educational plan (complete with expected learning outcomes and everything, which makes me feel like a real live teacher), I had to follow a set of SMART guidelines provided by Girls, Inc. I wish I could share the complete document here, but I can't. Anyway, most of these are things that would be nice for any curriculum - make it interactive, don't spoon feed the kids answers, let them use expensive toys they probably won't have access to at home, and make it relevant to something in their lives. But other guidelines are explicitly designed to push the fact that girls can do boy things, and shouldn't do "girl" things, which I disprove of. For example, we are supposed to conclude with a discussion of what boys would say if they saw girls doing the activity. We aren't supposed to include large sections of cutting, colouring, cooking or sewing - all incredibly vital components of lab work - because they are traditional female activities (even though I am sure most people of both sexes could work on these skills). We are also supposed to frown upon behaviours such as saying things are icky, even though some things really are icky to people, independent of their gender. So basically, the guidelines are telling me I can't express human emotions in response to things I am working with; when I found a vole that had fallen into a bucket of water and had been replaced by a wriggling writhing mass of maggots and the most offensive stench imaginable, I should have thought it was delightful. I guess I'm a pansy then, and telling me I'm pathetic will magically make me strong, smart and bold (R).
So I guess the second step in developing a class proposal was to overcome some of my anger with the underlying assumptions of the science camp program. While I support the idea that girls should have access to more science, I don't think it should be because they are girls. Maybe getting more girls involved means they are more likely to find a friend of the same sex interested in the same thing, but to say that boys don't let girls do things and girls let them get away with it is an insult to both sexes. Maybe I just don't understand because I was always told to do what I wanted and thought was right, and not care what other people might think. It is unimaginable to me that anyone would not do something because they thought it was a boy's or a girl's job. As Nike says, "just do it" (or as I constantly tell myself, shut up and get on with it).
What we need now is a cooking, cleaning, sewing, and make-up school that we assume boys will find interesting, exclude girls from applying, and brainwash the boys into believing that their biggest dream is to be a makeup artist, and if they don't want that, there is something wrong with them.