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November 4, 2009 > Mother/Daughter Math and Science Discovery Day

Mother/Daughter Math and Science Discovery Day

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By Miriam Keller and Genevieve Angelides

Recently, Hopkins Jr. High School was the setting for Mother/Daughter Math and Science Discovery Day, sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Approximately 40 fifth and sixth girls attended the event.

AAUW was established in 1881 to ensure that women received an equal opportunity for education. The local Fremont branch has been active in our community for over 40 years. Long time member, Miriam Keller, created the event with a committee in the early 1990's when originally looking into gender equity issues to help girls prepare for the adult world.

The day of workshops provided young students with an exciting opportunity to learn and explore the fields of Math and Science with their moms, while doing fun hands-on activities. According to Keller, "As an outcome, the Mother/Daughter Math and Science Discovery Day was initiated over 15 years ago to give girls more exposure to Math and Science and encourage future careers in these fields."

"Involving mothers is an important component so that there is a connection to home, friendships, and future mentorships for girls in these areas," Keller adds.

Sharing her own love for these fields is nothing new to Keller. She majored in Chemistry, Math and Physics at Purdue University and went on to teach Math, Algebra and Geometry at the high school level in New York.

Once held yearly, Math and Science Discovery Day recently expanded to twice a year. A similar event will be held in February for third and fourth grade girls in the Tri-City area.

Participants were able to choose five workshops from the varied selection of activities offered during the day:

Planetarium: Introduction to Astronomy and a presentation at Hopkins' planetarium.

Bones, Bones and Bones: An activity with paleontology.

Kitchen Chemistry: Red cabbage experiment on acids and bases.

CSI Fingerprints: Learning about fingerprints and how to dust for fingerprints. There was even a mystery to solve, "Who stole the candy?"

Fun with Dry Ice: Dry ice was put in different situations to demonstrate its different states.

Build a Better Bridge: A female engineer gave basic physics information and had students construct a bridge using only paper, and pennies with books for support.

Know When to Fold Them: Origami, a Japanese paper folding technique was used to create different geometric figures.

Stethoscope: A practicing nurse gave tips on staying healthy and girls listened to hearts through a stethoscope.

"The girls enjoyed all of it since they chose the workshops and topics that interested them. They come away pretty excited for the most part. Moms say the best thing is being together and learning new things with their daughters," says Keller.

RoseMarie McInnes, one of the current co-presidents of the AAUW Fremont chapter, adds, "Great accolades should go to Miriam Keller for organizing and spearheading these two days each year, creating challenging and fun activities for these students and their mothers. It's an amazing task that she has taken under her wing to encourage female students from all over the Fremont School Community to participate in this wonderful program."

"I just was thrilled to participate as a volunteer and see the enjoyment of the mothers, aunts, grandmothers and friends sharing these fun and exciting days with the young girls," says McInnes. "It was a thrill to experience the adult and student interaction, with parents helping to make predictions and conclusions. As an educator myself, I was pleased to see the positive interaction between student and adult, working in a very supportive and cooperative interchange of knowledge."

For information on AAUW or the next Mother/Daughter Math and Science Day, call
(510) 728-9700 or visit their website:

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