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Doing it wrong

Things I never learned in grad school:

Girl science is pink, and involves perfume, beauty products, soap, snowflakes, and “Beautiful Blob Slime.” (Please note: I did not make up that last.)

Boy science is blue, spooky and perilous, has physics and chemistry, and “Weird Slime Lab.”

There’s also cosmetic science, which is purple and involves cleaning products.

I’m all for encouraging girls to learn that science is fascinating and fun, especially by showing them that they can make fun things that they’re interested in. But really: gender-themed kits that only use scary words like “chemistry” and “physics” for explicitly male kits?


  1. Eric says:

    You left out Weird Science, which involves brassieres on the head and bits and pieces/bits and pieces/WOOOOO! MY CREATION!


    On a more serious note, yeah: inculcating sexism in kids at such an early age is bullshit.

  2. Sarah says:

    I learned about Weird Science in high school.

    And yet, I went on to pursue a career in science.

  3. JTS says:

    Girl science in our house involves lasers and math and Raman scattering. Oh wait. That’s woman science.

    Girl science at our house involves electronic circuits and snakes and things that go boom! Because the girl is Karma’s way of getting me back at what I put my parents through.

    And really, do you need a kit to get your kid interested in science? Though I must say, I love these kits.

  4. Sarah says:

    It depends on the kit. The good ones do the work of collecting all the bits for you, and provide directions.

    I had a chemistry kit as a kid that was awesome. I never would have been able to find all the bits on my own. Especially in families where the parents aren’t scientists (most of them, that is), that kind of guidance is really useful. You and I know where to get chemicals and lab glassware, and what would be needed, but most people don’t.

  5. JTS says:

    Well, there are books out now that we didn’t have as kids either. I have 4 or 5 that have a broad spectrum of do-it-yourself science experiments covering all the major disciplines that don’t need a kit. Unless you are doing quant stuff with older kids , the specialized equipment usually isn’t necessary. The stuff they do that the age those kits in the link seemed to be aimed at does not require special equipment. Those seemed aimed at elementary school.

    Once you get up to middle school, kits are a bit more desireable, especially if you are going to do something complicated such as titration. But most of them don’t have the really cool stuff we used to get becuase of product liability. I remember getting a frog in a jar of formadelhyde with my microscope and a book with a do-it-yourself instructions for disection. I have not seen anything like that in any microscope kit I’ve looked at for the girl.

  6. Sarah says:

    Definitely. Between new books and the internet, do-it-yourself science is so much easier.

    Science kits are not as fun as they used to be, though I’m too young to have experienced the home radioactivity labs. Probably all for the best!

  7. neurondoc says:

    (Late to this party)

    Girl science in my house involves bugs, slime, flesh eating bacteria (of the stuffed animal variety, but still), night vision goggles, and volcanoes.

    I HATE pink.