Girls Power Math: Looking at Math from Another Angle

Who runs the world? Girls – especially at the end of January, when over a hundred Middle School girls gathered at the Microsoft Commons in Redmond to showcase their problem-solving talents. On Saturday 1/26, the Washington Student Math Association partnered with Microsoft to host Girls Power Math, a fair for girls in middle school to explore hands-on math activities and puzzles.

A PDF of all stations and solutions can be found here.

According to Christina Yao and Vivian Lu, the two high school students at WSMA who founded Girls Power Math, “We want more girls not to be discouraged by common stereotypes and instead be more engaged and inspired when learning math”. Indeed, Girls Power Math was created to provide a socially empowering environment for middle school girls to collaboratively tackle challenging STEM problems.

Instead of taking a test, as students might at a typical math competition, every participant started Girls Power Math with a blank stamp card. Earning stamps would require visiting math stations (covering topics such as probability, origami or codebreaking). Collaborative problem solving was the key to earning stamps.

“Time flies when you are having fun”, said Natasha, an eleven-year-old competitor. Her main suggestion was that she wished the event would have run for longer. Natasha was one of many students who finished the afternoon with enough stamps to earn a special prize – like a custom “Girls Power Math” magnet frame from Microsoft or a book gifted by the Art of Problem Solving.

“It was inspiring to see the number of dads supporting their daughters to participate in a math fair targeted towards girls”, said Diana Ho, who organized and oversaw the event along with fellow Microsoft co-worker Evan Shieh. One of these dads – Bryan – saw Girls Power Math as a fun opportunity for a father-daughter trip to Seattle, and flew over from Utah to participate in the event.

While the main spotlight on Saturday was middle school girls, Girls Power Math brought together volunteers across all generations who share a love for math.

 

| February 15th, 2019 | Posted in Uncategorized |

Leave a Reply