Introduction

Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs that require computer and math skills are each projected to grow by more than 20 percent in the next decade? Unfortunately, studies show that girls begin to lose confidence and interest in science and math during middle school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 66 percent of girls in fourth grade say they like science. But only one-third of high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement physics classes are girls. At the college level, fewer than one-fifth of engineering majors are women.

Additionally, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that 71 percent of eighth-grade boys have confidence in their math ability, whereas only 60 percent of eighth-grade girls report confidence in their math ability. This gender gap in confidence continues on into high school and college as well.

Positive reinforcement in these subjects can give girls the extra support they need to enthusiastically pursue science and math education careers.

Whether the activities in this guide are used to supplement troop activities, create a series of events, or provide a focus for a Special Interest group, the goal of Mix it Up! Guiding Middle School Girls to Success is to give girls opportunities not only for real-life applications of financial literacy and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities but also find their voice, challenge themselves, make friends, and have fun.

With funding from New York Life Foundation, GSUSA field-tested financial literacy and STEM activities in “School Success Clubs” organized by three councils: Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (formerly Patriots’ Trail Council), and Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson (formerly Girl Scouts of Westchester Putnam). The activities and volunteer tips in this guide are a result of evaluations and feedback from girls, volunteers, and councils.