Encouraging a love of STEM with EDF Energy and Pretty Curious

I’ve always been fascinated by STEM-related topics – although the less said about my aptitude with maths the better – and it’s an area I’m keen for all three of my children to excel in.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to give its full name is becoming increasingly important. Particularly in the world of work. I’m especially keen for Amelie to nurture a love of these topics as she’s at an immediate disadvantage.

Why? Simply because she’s female. Sadly, just one in four people employed in STEM roles in the UK today are women.

Clearly, more needs to be done to inspire girls to get into STEM-related careers. That’s where EDF Energy’s Pretty Curious campaign comes in.

Now in its third year, Pretty Curious aims to both raise awareness of the gender imbalance in STEM and encourage girls to pursue STEM-related subjects at school and beyond.

One of the ways it aims to achieve this is via relatable role models. It’s partnership with Star Wars: The Last Jedi offers two fantastic examples in Rey and Rose.

Another good way, of course, is making STEM part of the furniture. I’m proud to say that we’ve encouraged Amelie to play with educational toys since she was able to. Speaking of which, EDF Energy sent us a Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit and a cardboard viewer to try out.

Amelie is still only two years old so needed a fair bit of help, but I believe it’s never too early to start things like this. She seemed to enjoy watching the 360º film through the cardboard viewer. Her clear favourite, though, was the droid.

A father showing his daughter how to use a virtual reality viewer.

Now, obviously, I couldn’t let her loose on the circuits. Instead, I enlisted Dylan and Xander to test it for age appropriateness. It would have been mean to have all the fun myself too! The instructions on the companion app were easy to follow and our little R2-D2 was soon complete.

Then it was Amelie’s turn to put it to the test. She enjoyed using the controls on the app to make R2-D2 move around and loved punctuating this with his array of sounds.

She obviously understood the cause and effect relationship between the app and the droid. There was a permanent grin on her face while she was controlling it too!

An electrical circuit.

To my mind, that’s an important STEM lesson learned already and it’s something that she can now build on.

There are plenty of resources on the Pretty Curious website including virtual reality films, quizzes and the opportunity to create shareable, personalised avatars in STEM-related careers.

I think the Pretty Curious campaign is a great idea and, although it may be very early days for Amelie, she definitely got something out of engaging with STEM topics.

What do you think? Should we be doing more to encourage girls to follow STEM careers?

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.

  • Alice
    December 18, 2017

    Love the post! Very essential to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers by giving them such toys from a young age. If nothing else, it signals these things are “for them” – I remember being constantly frustrated at primary school that all the electronics/tech/remote-control/building gifts were given to my brother, while I received shampoo and scarves. That’s sending the subliminal message from an early age that tech is not for girls. It needs to change. Pinkified “perfume science” kits are not the answer FYI, that’s bullshit (excuse my language).

    Even before they are born, we can make their future STEM world more inviting to girls by changing societies perceptions so that once they’re there they don’t feel like a constant imposter. This starts with ourselves – stop assuming the woman talking to you is non-technical and non-practical. I’ve stopped keeping a tally of the number of times people have made frustrating assumptions.
    Assuming I’m lost in the DIY isle, assuming I’m a secretary and talking to the (male) lab tech about the project I was leading. Smiling condescendingly in the plumbers merchants and asking if I’m sure I ought be be plumbing in that part by myself? I’m mid-thirties and working in tech in 2017, I shouldn’t still be dealing with this nonsense where I have to justify my skills to everyone (mostly those with a Y chromosome).

    Assumptions, killing tech aspirations of girls every day.

    Rant over, you’re doing the right stuff!!!

  • LD
    December 19, 2017

    Of course we should- all of us.
    Nice post, Tom.

  • michelle twin mum
    December 22, 2017

    Fabulous to see you are starting so early with Amelie. STEM jobs are such a massive growth area that it is key we give our girls the tools to go into those fields if they so desire. Mich x

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