Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the in-person version of this program has been canceled. However, we invite you to enjoy a small selection of modules related to the GirlsGetMath curriculum consisting of videos and downloadable activities. These materials will be available to the general public for the entire month of August 2020.

We realize some will be curious about the solutions to these GirlsGetMath modules. In the spirit of keeping these activities fun (and less like school), we prefer that you simply consider these exercises as an opportunity to explore and play with the mathematical concepts.

GirlsGetMath@ICERM is a five-day non-residential mathematics program that is open to high schoolers, regardless of gender identity, who live in or near greater Rhode Island and who will be entering the 10th or 11th grade in the fall of 2020.

GirlsGetMath occurs in an encouraging environment that builds young students' confidence in math and science.

GirlsGetMath expands participants' understanding and knowledge of mathematics through computations and experimentations.

GirlsGetMath provides expert mathematical training and mentoring.

GirlsGetMath@ICERM encourages 20-25 high schoolers to explore topics such as cryptography, the mathematics of voting, image processing, prime numbers and factoring, and fractals.

The goals of the program are:

  • to show young adults that the study of mathematics can be exciting, beautiful, and useful
  • to build confidence in students' mathematical knowledge through engaging and expert mathematical instruction
  • to provide an affirming environment that introduces high schoolers to a variety of career opportunities in which sophisticated mathematical ability plays a key role
  • to emphasize the strategic role mathematics plays for success in STEM careers
  • to provide the participants with a support group and expert mentors who are successful undergraduate, graduate students, postdocs, and professionals from the STEM workforce
  • to have a positive influence on the way students view their mathematical interest and ability

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Students and instructors from the 2019 GirlsGetMath@ICERM program.
GirlsGetMath@ICERM is made possible solely through grants and donations. The 2020 program is made possible through support from MathforAmerica, Microsoft Research, and Stephen F. Siegel & Jayne Kurkjian-Siegel.

Purpose of Program

Despite the fact that jobs in STEM are multiplying and pay better than other careers, women remain woefully underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math jobs. Some of this imbalance may be traced back to attitudes about mathematics and sciences in middle school and high school. There is a documented decline in girls’ positive feels about mathematics beginning in middle school, and from this point forward girls are far less likely than their male peers to choose elective courses in mathematics and the sciences[1][2]. The absence of girls in mathematics and science elective courses is especially severe among low-income and disadvantaged students. Research has shown that school-aged girls may not realize that their preferred career choice requires coursework in mathematics and sciences[3], so these decisions can have long lasting consequences.

GirlsGetMath@ICERM aims to build knowledge and confidence in mathematics ability early in education, ultimately shaping the way the students view themselves and their mathematical interests and potential. The program will:

  • Demonstrate through hands-on activities, games, and computer simulations that the study of mathematics can be exciting, beautiful and useful;
  • Introduce the high school participants to a variety of career opportunities for which sophisticated mathematical ability plays a key role, with an emphasis on the central role mathematics plays for success in STEM careers; and
  • Provide the participants with a support group of like-minded peers and mentors.
  • An outstanding feature of the GirlsGetMath@ICERM program is its commitment to quality. The program content is created by Ph.D. mathematicians who collectively have many years of experience as researchers and educators. The content is chosen to be at the appropriate level for the participants, but at the same time challenging, useful, and engaging to high school students. The Faculty Organizers of GirlsGetMath are college and university faculty in mathematics with experience leading summer mathematics programs for students. The Teaching Assistants are undergraduate and graduate students in mathematics and computer science.

[1] J. Blue and D. Gann, When do girls lose interest in math and science?, Science Scope, (2008).
[2] J. Wilkins and X. Ma, Modeling change in students attitude toward and beliefs about mathematics, Journal of Educational Research, (2007).
[3] L. Pettitt, Middle School Students’ Perception of Math and Science Abilities and Related Careers, 61st Biennial Meeting of Research in Child Development, (1995).

Virtual GGM Modules

Lab: An Introduction to vectors and matrices in Octave

In this lab you will learn how to perform matrix computations in Octave, a free numerical software that uses a language compatible with MATLAB. To perform the operations below, point your web browser to octave-online.net. For this entire lab, you will only need to enter lines of code into the Octave Command Prompt. No sign-in is necessary.

Materials and Resources
Lab: Recommendation Systems

In this lab you will work through some examples of the computations needed to create a basic recommendation system and then go on to make a recommen- dation system based on a sample of survey data. The activities below are written to be completed using Octave, which you can access at octave-online.net. To become familiar with basic matrix and vector commands in Octave, it is recommended that you complete the introductory lab before this activity.

Lab: Modular Arithmetic

This module introduces modular arithmetic, sometimes known as "clock arithmetic." The module covers basic properties of addition, multiplication, and multiplicative inverses modulo n.

Materials and Resources
Lab: Modular Arithmetic and Cryptography

In this lab we will practice modular arithmetic and encoding/decoding messages using Octave, which you can access at octave-online.net.

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