The Northern Nevada Girls Math & Technology Program began in 1998 under Program Directo Lynda Wiest, a University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) professor who continues to direct the program. The program's purpose is to increase girls' knowledge, skills, and confidence in mathematics and technology in order to enhance mathematical and technological competence in girls' personal, academic, and occupational lives. The program consists of a five-day, residential summer camp held on the UNR campus and year-round web site information and opportunities.
Northern Nevada girls of all academic abilities and backgrounds may apply to the program in the spring before they will enter grade 7 or 8 the following fall. Approximately 60 girls, 30 from each grade level, are selected randomly from applicants solicited by school mailings to public, private, charter, and Native American schools.
Two classes of about 30 girls each typically work within their own grade-level grouping. For most class sessions, girls work together at tables in randomized groups of four that change daily. Academic sessions take place in the College of Education.
Mathematics topics addressed include problem solving, geometry, spatial skills, data analysis and probability (younger group only), and algebra (older group only). Technology components include calculator and computer use. Students use four-function and graphing calculators, as well as tool software (Terrapin Logo and The Geometer's Sketchpad). Program participants also gain exposure to female role models in mathematical and technological fields by working with an all-female staff, hearing a guest speaker discuss use of mathematics and/or technology in her job, and learning biographical information about contemporary and/or historical female mathematicians and computer scientists.
Program staff includes an even mix of local veteran teachers and upper-division pre-service or beginning teachers. Two to three instructors are present in each classroom at all times. Another instructor, who has special expertise in mathematics software use, conducts the computer lab segments.
Instructors base their lessons on the Nevada Math Standards established for the grade level the girls will enter in the fall. They employ research-based teaching methods endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, including a constructivist orientation to learning. Students are expected to actively interact with and reflect on materials and ideas. Key pedagogical strategies include hands-on activity, mixed-ability collaborative group work, real-world applications, and problem solving and investigation in a supportive learning environment.
Camp participants and overnight staff engage in recreational activities each evening (such as roller skating and a movie night), and they stay in university residence halls and eat in the campus cafeteria. Parents are invited to participate in introductory and concluding activities.
Participants pay a registration fee that partially covers program costs. Funding sources (see Program Sponsors) offset remaining costs. Scholarships are available to participants with demonstrated financial need.
For additional information about the program, including application information and forms, visit the other links under Program Information.
The website provides a place for program participants and their parents to access information about the program and to choose to participate in online, monitored discussion areas that support the program mission. The website also provides information and resources for girls, parents, educators, and researchers everywhere.