Tag Archives: Laurel Center for Research on Girls

Engaging Girls in STEM: Gift Guide for Girls

from the Laurel Center for Research on Girls

With the holidays approaching, it’s the perfect time to think about gifts that engage and encourage girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Research shows that girls feel more excited about pursuing STEM topics when adults highlight the place of collaboration, tinkering, role models, and meaningful objectives in STEM fields. We’ve compiled some suggestions of STEM gifts that incorporate these principles. Remember, it’s never too early to introduce girls to STEM toys and activities!


Research shows that girls prefer and persevere more in collaborative STEM work. Teachers promote collaborative STEM work by pairing girls with varied or complementary skill sets, using small groups (no more than 3-4 girls) and mixing up groups and pairings often. To promote collaboration in free play, consider toys that lend themselves easily to playing together with a friend or two.

LCRG recommends: Roominate, Robot Turtles, Quirkle


Girls are less likely than boys to tinker with building materials, mechanical objects and computers. By tinkering less, girls miss out on opportunities to practice important skills such as spatial awareness, mechanical reasoning and critical thinking. Tinkering toys abound for girls of all ages.

LCRG recommends: LEGO, Rubik’s Cube, MagnaTiles, littleBits

Role Models

A dearth of female STEM role models may limit girls’ engagement in STEM activities. When girls lack exposure to female STEM role models, it reinforces negative stereotypes that some girls hold about STEM fields. New research shows that having girls write and reflect about their own female STEM role models increases their “sense of fit” in STEM. Consider some of the resources below to increase girls’ connection to female STEM role models.

LCRG recommends: Rosie Revere, Engineer, Women in Science Rule!, Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and Inventors, Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions, LCRG’s Famous Women of STEM Playing Cards

Meaningful Objectives

Girls value STEM work that holds clear and purposeful ties to everyday life. Female college students report a stronger desire than male college students to use their technical skills to help others. Toymakers have recently started incorporating this idea into STEM toys; here are some to consider:

LCRG recommends: GoldieBlox, K’NEX Investigating Solar Energy Set, StemBox

Additional Resources

For more fantastic gifts for girls, check out these sites:
A Mighty Girl
Fat Brain Toys

LCRG is found at https://www.laurelschool.org/page.cfm?p=625&LockSSL=true

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021; or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com 


Sleep Disturbances in Girls

From the Laurel Center for Research on Girls

[for reading tutoring in Columbus OH: see below]

Sleep and Mindfulness
By now, most everyone is aware of the disheartening statistics surrounding teen sleep. While it’s recommended that teens sleep 9-10 hours per night, only 20% reach that optimal amount, and nearly half of teenagers average less than 8 hours per night during the week. There are many culprits that work to deprive adolescents of their much-needed sleep, including homework and extra-curricular activities, early school start times, technology use and stress. While some of these factors are outside teens’ control, promising new research indicates that managing stress may play an important role in improving sleep.

Stress and Sleep
More than a third of teenagers report that high levels of stress interfere with their ability to fall asleep at night. The stress-sleep relationship is cyclical, with insufficient sleep also increasing stress, and the relationship may be more pronounced for teenage girls. Some research suggests that the emotion-focused coping often utilized by teenage girls may increase sleep disturbance during times of stress. Although many factors affecting sleep are outside of teens’ control, stress management is one place they might make positive changes to improve sleep quality.

Mindfulness, a specific way of paying attention to one’s surroundings that can be honed through meditation and acceptance practices, is gaining support as an effective stress-reduction technique. Research with teens indicates that mindfulness may have positive effects on sleep duration and sleep quality. Mindfulness techniques may also indirectly improve sleep via decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms in teens. Although mindfulness has been extensively studied in adults, research in children and teens is just beginning. In its early stages, this technique shows similar promise as other stress reduction techniques in improving children and teens’ overall well-being.


Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com