Why Girls Count?

 

Ok, so we know that a lot of girls don't like math. But why? Women and girls bring a creative, collaborative approach towards problem-solving but these values are often not seen in a typical classroom. The traditional way of teaching math by memorizing equations and plugging in numbers focuses only on computation. Teachers have taught math this way for years, and it has developed such a poor reputation that students may actively dislike the subject or find it intimidating. When working in a group, girls are able to share ideas, learn about new ways of solving a problem, and feel comfortable thinking outside the box, rather than feeling the pressure of recalling a formula or the “rules” so often taught in a traditional classroom. They also learn how math is a subject with value and substance that is necessary for making informed decisions about the way you live.

 

Is your child stressed, bored, or frustrated doing her math homework? Practicing procedures without a deep understanding of the concepts results in many drawbacks:

 

  • Can be repetitive

  • Easy to lose focus

  • Doesn’t allow for a deeper understanding of a subject

  • Doesn’t encourage the use of social skills

  • No connection between new and previous knowledge

  • May result in wrong impression or understanding of a concept

At Girls Count, we focus on inquiry-based learning, which is active, constructive, and long-lasting, but most importantly, it allows students to be fully engaged in the learning process. Traditional methods of “watch and repeat” may work in the moment, but students are not shown how to explore ideas and strategies that will help them in the long-run. These old-school methods do almost nothing to engage students or create strategic problem-solvers who will use math effectively in the real world. Inquiry-based learning teaches students important cognitive skills they will use throughout their life. Cognitive skills are what students use to evaluate, analyze, remember and make comparisons.

Instead of simply presenting facts, we encourage students to talk about a problem and draw on their intuition to understand it. We also encourage students to ask their own questions, make mistakes, try multiple ways of approaching a problem, and learn to articulate how they arrived at a solution.

We're all about 5 C's:

1. Collaboration: girls work together to solve problems using their own methods

2. Communication: expressing ideas and learning to make arguments about how and why their strategy works

3. Creativity: thinking outside the box and trying new approaches beyond "rules" or algorithms

4. Critical--thinking: Using a logical approach, experimenting with an idea and executing a plan

5. Connections: Seeing math as a subject of connected ideas rather than individual concepts; connecting math to other subjects and to the real world.

Examples of a standard approach:

What is the slope of the the equation y=12x+4?
 

Example of a Girls Count approach:

Look at this picture of two hills, one tall and one long. Will it take you longer to reach the top of one or the other? How do you know? Discuss your conclusion with someone in your group.

Wouldn't you like to see your girl engaged and enjoying what she's learning? 

Yep, we would too! Join us for a workshop or camp today!

Any questions?

Check out our FAQ page to see if we've answered it or fill out this form.

Girls Count is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Federal Tax ID #84-3078754

info@girlscountpdx.org

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