March 17th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Bori Kim
It was another TrueChild day at Ariel! TrueChild is one of PE’s partnerships that offers various programs and lessons about gender and gender norms with STEM related professions for young teenage students (for more information please click here: http://www.truechild.org/). These lessons help young girls, especially middle-aged girls, to understand what gender is and overcome gender stereotypes that have been persisted in our society. Unlearning and relearning the concept of gender really encourage the girls to know their true selves and find path in STEM fields.
On this particular Tuesday, Ariel girls did an activity to find where they are at this present time, March 17, 2015 and where they would like to be in 10 years, March 17, 2025. Before the girls came in, I had four columns made on a white board, with a date in the center. A left top column says, “Write 3 nouns or objects that represent who you are and explain why.” Next one is “Write 3 adjectives that describe who you are.” Then, “Write 3 places; any of your favorite places or places you have a special memory.” Last column says, “Write 3 colors that describes who you are.”
The girls had 15 minutes to think and respond to these in their journals. The girls were very focused on writing these out and knowing who they are. I asked three volunteers to share their present-time stories (wish we had more time so we could hear everyone’s). Selena, who wants to be a famous MBA basketball player, shared her three adjectives. Smart. Strong. Athletic. She said, “I have a good grade. I live to work out a lot to get stronger. I love watching and playing sports, trying new things.” Everyone gave her a round of applause. Selena had a very solid plan and vision of what she wants to be.
“Everyone did a fantastic job! Let me ask this. We just did who we are as of March 17, 2015, but what do you think who you are ten years later, March 17, 2025?” I asked the girls. The girls were very excited (more than excited) to share what they will be doing or who they will be. “I will be a famous actress.” “I will make a lot of money so I will be interviewed on TV.”
“Okay girls. Let’s calm down a bit. I have one more question for you. What do you think our society will be like in 10 years?” I asked again. “You don’t have to answer this right now, but get into your group and create a collage of what you think our society will be like in 10 years together.” The girls were split into two groups and started to create a collage on a big orange paper. I walked around to see how the girls would respond to this. I saw a 2025 food stamp with a feast table and asked this girl what this table means. She said, “My mom is working really hard every day, but we never get a chance to have good food. This is a food stamp that we will have in 2025.” “Very nice! I like it.” I responded and hugged her so tight.
We didn’t have enough time to finish up the collage. This will be continued in our next TrueChild lesson. I was very surprised that these girls are not babies anymore though I still think they are my babies. They are well-aware of what is going on in their own lives and around them. They want to make a difference. I am so glad that TrueChild lessons help them shape their lives by their decisions—not by what society tells them to be.