What is Ada Lovelace Day?
Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. So far, 1808 bloggers have already pledged to blog about women in science and technology in commemoration of Ada Lovelace Day.
The first Ada Lovelace Day was held on March 24, 2009. Thousands of bloggers wrote about women in technology and the day itself was covered by BBC News Channel, BBC.co.uk, Radio 5 Live, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Metro, Computer Weekly, and VNUnet.
For more information, or to register your blog, click here.
Who is Ada Lovelace?
Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, is considered the first computer programmer. She is on the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Lovelace wrote the first computer codes to run the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine invented by Charles Babbage. To honor her contributions, the US Navy named one of its computer languages ADA.
Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day with your Children
Ada Lovelace Day is a great day for a discussion on gender bias in science and technology. Children, especially elementary ones, rarely realize they harbor any gender bias when it comes to science and technology. It is exciting to expose their gender biases and utilize the experience as a consciousness raising discussion. It will work with any grade, any time of year. You can do it near the beginning of the year and repeat the exercise at the end of the year to compare how beliefs about women in science and technology have changed.
- Ask children to draw a picture of a scientist. They may not ask any questions to you or any of their peers. They must simply draw the first scientist that comes to their minds, with no talking or sharing.
- Ask them to share their drawings including a brief description.
- While they are sharing, chart the number of male and female scientists that students draw on a graph on the board. Do not tell the children what you are doing until the end. They will be curious, but if you tell them it might skew your results.
- Discuss the results. More often than not children draw mostly male scientists in lab coats with chemicals or something of the sort. Discuss that science and technology opportunities are vast, and expose the graph to your kids. Children will begin to see their internalized gender bias. Challenge them to discuss where they feel this comes from and why it is harmful to society.
- This is a great opportunity to highlight some amazing female scientists and tech-gurus. You can find examples at 4,000 Years of Women in Science. This is an extraordinary collection of over 150 entries including biographies, photos, and graphics about women scientists and their contributions.
Photo from Anyaka
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