Researchers launched exploration game to bring girls closer to science

Monday, 26 de September

The Project “Julieta in Girl’s Land” gave away for free more than 600 exploration sets, looking forward to contribute to reduce the gender gap in science.

This project is aimed for girls from 7 to 11 years, and seeks to encourage their interest in science through play, observation, recording and measurement of their environment, either in nature or inside their homes. To access the set, girls sent a question to a scientist like: Why some animals live longer than others? How can I know how old is a mountain? Is the man guilty of climate change? More than 450 students participated in the contest

The iniciative is in charge of a group of scientists and communicators of the Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2, the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB) and the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA) , who created a set of exploration composed of a field notebook, a backpack, a flashlight, a magnifying glass, a pencil and a jar for collecting samples, all instruments are illustrated with Chilean children’s character “Julieta” ( www.julieta.cl ), which was adapted in a special edition for this proyect.

“Whereas Chile is unequal in the number of women in science and given that toys in childhood play a decisive role in the construction of roles and identity, this project is a contribution to promote the interest of girls for these fields of study, providing tools to reach out to the scientific method through play, as an alternative to tea toys offered by the market ” says Sofia Otero, director of the project, and adds: “this is a small initiative that alone will not decrease the gap, but the success of the project has served to put the issue in discussion and hopefully encourage more similar initiatives”

READY TO EXPLORE: Girls receive field kit

The distribution of the kits was performed by means of a contest in which girls between 7 and 11 years were invited to send a question about climate, mountains or biodiversity, which was subsequently answered by any of the scientific team members.

After this process the 460 questions received entered a random drawing that yielded 106 winners in the Metropolitan Region and 59 in Biobio. Each fortunate received three kits: one for her and two to give to their friends, in order to promote teamwork. Javiera Guzman, mother of one of the winners, share the reaction of his 8 year old daughter: ” Simona was happy. She began to read immediately the field notebook, wanted to do all activities. I think this project is very motivating, sensitive and promotes critical thinking.

The same stands for Loreto Pinillo, Head of Luis Matte Larraín School of Puente Alto, who upon hearing the initiative began a strong information campaign among girls from her school: “We went classroom by classroom inviting students. For us it was important to participate because we believe that any activity that stimulates curiosity and interest in science is a contribution, especially if it`s as original as this one. ”

Loreto says that after finding out that seven students of her school had win exploration kits, they coordinated everything to make a special delivery of the prizes : “We wanted to highlight them with a special ceremony at the library, where we invited the parents of the students”.

It should be noted that 100 kits were delivered directly to establishments with high vulnerability of thetowns of Chiguayante and San José de Maipo. In this last place, the Project held the launching of this initiative and carried out a field trip with the girls from the Manzano school.

In September the second field trip will take place, this time with girls from 3rd and 4th grade from a basic school from Chiguayante, at the Biobío región.

The project is one of the the winners of the Competition of projects Explora CONICYT for popularization of Science and Technology 2015.

About the Project

Director: Sofía Otero (CEGA)

Deputy Director: Laura Gallardo (CR2)

Scientific Advisory: Nèlida Pohl (IEB) y Linda Daniele (CEGA)

Communications: Nicole Tondreau (CR2) y Luz Fariña (Núcleo Milenio CESIEP y Fundación Fungi)

Illustrator: Florencia Olivos

Web Site: http://www.julietaexploradora.cl/