Question Sheet: Toy Challenge


Before reading:

  1. If you were inventing a plaything to get young children interested in science, what sort of toy or game would it be? How would you go about creating and testing it?
  2. Think of the most enthusiastic science students in your class. Are these students mostly male or female? Why do you think this is the case?
  3. What makes you excited (or unexcited) about math and science?

During reading:

  1. Who is Domenico Grasso and what does he do?
  2. Give two reasons why a girl might become less interested in math or science as she gets older.
  3. How are women in the science field helping girls stay involved with science? Pick one example from the article and describe its importance.

After reading:

  1. How would you change your science class to make sure that girls stay interested?
  2. Although the number of girls studying science is rising, the number of women in science, engineering, and technology in general is still very low. How would you explain this circumstance?
  3. Get in a group of four people (with at least two girls per group) and make a list of ideas for a toy for TOYchallenge. Choose the one idea that you think would work best. What materials would you need? How would you build this toy? What would the toy’s user learn?


  1. What do you think is the best way to keep girls interested in science? Pick one of the initiatives in the article or create your own and write a proposal for why your group should get funding. (Hint: It might be helpful to use the statistics from the article to make your argument more persuasive.)
  2. Strasburger says that the Sally Ride Club “gives girls the sense that science isn’t a little gray-haired lady with a lab coat and 3-inch-thick glasses on.” Is that how you picture a female scientist? If not, what image do you have of a scientist? Where do you think that image comes from?


Suppose there are 125 girls in the fourth grade at your school. At present, women make up only 9 percent of all engineers. If this level stays the same for the next few decades, how many of these fourth-grade girls would you expect to become engineers when they grow up?