Empowering Girls with Chemistry, Exercise and Physical Activity

Emily D. Clapham, University of Rhode Island
Lori E. Ciccomascolo, University of Rhode Island
Andrew J. Clapham, University of Rhode Island


Research suggests that a girl's career interests in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) declines between grades 6 and 8. Similarly, in middle school, there is a decrease in physical activity among girls. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island (URI) conducted a chemistry-based science camp that took place over the public school spring break with the goal of increasing girls' interest in chemistry and physical activity. The camp included 42 middle school age girls in grades 6 through 8 from schools throughout Rhode Island. Interdisciplinary curricula were created to link chemistry with physical activity concepts used in physical education classes. Overall, the girls enjoyed the interdisciplinary curriculum and found the connection between science and physical activity to be interesting; as a result, similar science-based interdisciplinary curricula may have the capacity to promote physical activity as well as STEM career interests in girls.