Climate Change and STEM Career Preparation: Building a Diverse Workforce


It is important to explore the kinds of stereotypes students experience in the media about STEM careers, and explore resources that can be introduced in the classroom so that all students see a wider range of faces and essentially see themselves in STEM careers.

Data Activity: A Picture of U.S Scientists as "Pictured" in the Media

In this activity, you will explore images of scientists depicted in the media today. Google search returns are based on the relevancy of the topic as well as ranking algorithms used by the search engine. Thus, a Google image search provides a representative sample of what others are seeing when they do similar searches.

  1. Begin by accessing "Google Images" and type in "scientist" (or "climate scientist", "rocket scientist"- up to you!). Look through at least two pages of images.
  2. Now consider the diversity of your students.
  3. Tally how many images you needed to look at until you saw a picture of a Latina, African-American, female, or Native American scientist, or other populations represented by students in your classroom with whom they might identify.
  4. Conduct the same experiment by accessing a science career site that you are familiar with or choose one of the following:
  5. Notice how these websites intentionally represent a broader ethnicity than you see in returns from a search engine. What differences do you see in the representation of diversity in the Google image search and the career websites?
  6. Click on any 10 careers you would like to explore, look at the images, and reflect on what diversity you encountered.

How can you help your students "see" themselves in STEM careers?

Global Climate Change Modules

Online Professional Development

PBS Teacherline

PBS TeacherLine, the premier provider of online professional development services for PreK-12 educators, has the goal of making professional development accessible, affordable and engaging for teachers. Our hope is that our courses can help inspire and guide STEM learning at every age and in every discipline.

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