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PBSKids show ‘SciGirls’ encourages STEM interest among girls

Traditionally, boys are encouraged more by teachers and society to pursue science and math fields, and consequently they excel in them and today careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)  are overwhelmingly male. Girls are geared towards humanities, which usually pays less than STEM jobs, which contributes to the overall gender pay gap. It’s all cyclical if you think about it.
There has been a movement in recent years to reverse that trend and get more girls to explore STEM subjects and stick with them through middle school, high school and college when interests wanes.
Shows like SciGirls which airs on PBS Kids are helping to encourage more girls to retain interest in those subjects. The Emmy Award-winning series will launch its third season this April.  
The diverse middle-school- aged STEM adventurers that star in the show do things like track toads, count clouds and much more, all in the name of citizen science.  The activities captured during this season encourages kids to observe and record data about everything around them and where ever they go: from birds to beaches, monarch butterflies to maple trees. The data is then shared with scientists, who use it to generate new scientific knowledge. 
“Collaboration is the key to successful citizen science,” said SciGirls executive producer Richard Hudson. “Since SciGirls’ beginning, working together—making discoveries, mistakes and friends—is one of the important research-based methods we use to engage girls around STEM. 
“This new season underscores the importance of collaboration within the scientific research community and workforce. SciGirls is fortunate to have powerful partners advising us about citizen science, including the University of Cornell Department of Ornithology, NASA and FrogWatch USA.
Good stuff! My girl will be watching! 

(Check Local Listings for channel and showtimes) or Watch Online

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Give Thanks: 15 Volunteer activities your child can do

While Thanksgiving is a season for giving, for children it ends up being a season for receiving only as many lose sight of the fact that the Holidays is also a time for appreciating what you have and about the priceless gifts of family and togetherness that have no price tag.  
Thanksgiving can also be a wonderful opportunity to  nurture a spirit of giving to others as well.
A recent Nanny Classifieds post explains the benefits of volunteering, and notes how lending “a hand to someone in need can heighten your child’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth while also providing an opportunity to possibly discover new career options on which to build aspirations.”
In it, there are 15 examples of volunteer activities that children can engage in this Holiday season and beyond to help them appreciate all they have and receive in their lives. 
  1. Collect children’s books from family and friends and donate them to a local hospital or library
  2. Sign up for a charity walk to benefit an organization or disease awareness
  3. Donate food to a food pantry by having your child pick out an item each time you shop for groceries
  4. Volunteer to serve meals to the homeless at a local shelter or food pantry
  5. Compile activity boxes, complete with puzzles, coloring books and games, to donate to a children’s center or children’s hospital
  6. Donate a few hours to picking up litter at local parks or roadways
  7. Visit a nursing home and offer to share your talents through musical entertainment or story time
  8. Deliver meals to the homebound (many food pantries offer these services)
  9. Take the kids along as you volunteer to drive an elderly neighbor to the doctor or grocery store
  10. Volunteer to feed, walk and care for abandoned animals at the local animal shelter
  11. Gather several classmates and friends to raise awareness and money to help refugee kids in schools around the world
  12. Recruit the entire family to tutor, mentor or read with younger children
  13. Work with the local Red Cross agency to give blood or organize a community blood drive
  14. Make cards, blankets and stuffed animals for sick children and donate to a local organization who provides care items to hospitals and children’s centers
  15. There are unlimited options for volunteering, both locally and nationally, that you can take advantage of to show children how acts of kindness can significantly impact someone else’s life. Find even more opportunities and learn how to brainstorm and plan family volunteer trips with the PBS Family Guide to Volunteering.
It is recommended to designate a specific day each week for volunteer activities.
“Having children volunteer helps them to get out of themselves,” New Hampshire clinical psychologist Carl Hindy says. “It teaches them social interest, empathy and awareness of others.”

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Eco Friday: Ways to Help Your Kids Prepare for Earth Day and Care about the Planet

April is now considered Earth Month, an extension of Earth Day which is on April 22.

It is time for us humans to appreciate mother Earth, learn about what we personally and collectively are doing to pollute her and what we can do to preserve her for the long haul. It’s also a  great opportunity to teach children about the 3 Rs of Earth day: Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. 

Families create so much waste weekly, but there are simple things that can be done to reduce our collective carbon footprint if we learn about them. One easy way is to recycle. 
And just in time for Earth Month, to help you get you children to understand the concept comes this month’s “WordGirl News” report from the popular Emmy® Award-winning cartoon show WordGirl, produced by Scholastic Media.

It’s all about the word “RECYCLE”!
Tune in this April 22 to the special Earth Day episode of the show which follows the everyday life and superhero adventures of WordGirl. She is mild-mannered 5th-grader Becky Botsford by day, but who also fights crime and enriches vocabulary usage with her monkey sidekick, Captain Huggy Face, with her extraordinary strength and added benefit of a colossal vocabulary. Each episode introduces four new vocabulary words and reinforces their meanings in a variety of contexts. 

And Here are 5 Things you can do this Earth Day to help your entire family leave a smaller carbon footprint. 

1. Calculate your Carbon Footprint using this online FREE tool, then do something to lower it, whatever that calculation amounts to.

2. Download one of these 10 apps to help you live a greener life.
3. Start recycling in your home. Review these easy simple rules for starting.
4. Build a compost and have the kids help you make it. Follow this guide.
5. Commit to buying eco-friendly products when you can. 
6. About a quarter of diseases are exposed by environmental exposure, the World Health Organization states. Educate yourself about pollutants, including man-made substances that can not only pollute the Earth but kill, such as asbestos. Cancer survivor Heather Von St. James beat the 2 year to death prognosis given to the 3,000 people who contract mesothelioma annually from asbestos exposure and set up a webpage to raise awareness about it HERE.
7. Purchase reusable products like plastic lunch boxes to reduce the number of sandwich bags you use weekly, reusable water bottles to replace of crates of 8 ounce bottles, and mesh grocery bags to limit the amount of plastic bags you accumulate from weekly grocery shopping.
Start here and we’ll all make the world a better place.

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