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Girls STEAM Ahead With NASA Program Cookbook

Girls STEAM Ahead With NASA Program Cookbook

Create your own Girls STEAM Ahead with NASA event using NASA’s Universe of Learning resources. Like any typical cookbook, our Program Cookbook includes recipes for events that are ordered by topic.

Depending on your comfort level with astrophysics topics, you may use a sample event scenario exactly as outlined. We’ve created sample event scenarios that you may use to create hour-long events to guide your audience through a particular topic. As you become more familiar with our resources, you may also tailor your events based on your audience’s needs and interests.

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Girls STEAM Ahead With NASA Program Cookbook


Recipe 1: Electromagnetic Spectrum

Communicating concepts about the electromagnetic spectrum is important because light is how astronomers gather evidence from objects in space. And since there is more than one type light, multiwavelength observations are key to understanding the object in-depth. This “recipe” will help you create an event where attendees learn that:

  • The electromagnetic spectrum contains all types of light.
  • Our eyes only detect one type of light from the electromagnetic spectrum (visible light).
  • Objects in the universe can appear different when detected using different kinds of light, which can tell us something about that object.
  • Different telescopes are used to collect different kinds of light from space.
Recipe 2: Data and Imaging Processing

Computer-aided data collection and processing is an essential part of research using space- and ground-based telescopes. Scientists rely on computers not only to do calculations, but also to transform data into images. Coding and programming are some of the many tools that astronomers need to study the information from our space telescopes.

With this “recipe,” your event’s attendees will learn that telescope data and the resulting images help inform scientists about phenomena and characteristics of objects in space. They will also learn that making astronomical images is a process, a translation of information from one form to another.

Recipe 3: Celebrating Women in STEM

Engage girls in STEM, frequently and consistently, and highlight often-overlooked contributions of women in the STEM fields by planning and hosting your own event. Current or historical female scientists and engineers can provide concrete examples of how to “do science,” and share insights about how talent is not a fixed attribute, but something that can be developed. Female role models can be inspirational and can reduce self-stereotyping, fostering a sense of belonging and identity for girls.

The resources and activity ideas in this recipe support events that focus specifically on engaging girls in STEM and/or address a “Women in STEM” theme. Whether for Women’s History Month, the United Nations International Day of the Girl, or for any time of year, use these sample event scenarios to introduce female role models, highlight STEM careers, and provide learners with an introduction to the tools and processes used by real-world, STEM professionals.