Telling Our Stories: Women in Science describes the backgrounds, interests,
experiences and experiments of eight contemporary female scientists who work
in fields ranging from superconductivity to animal communication. Children
can read about these women’s training, sift through their collections of
photographs, and try simple simulated experiments in each scientist’s
The program may be useful for a middle-school student required to write a
biography of a scientist or may just be an interesting source of information
for a child interested in reading about a life spent working in science. The
photographs and biographies of the featured scientists make their fields
sound practical and accessible. The program is easy to navigate – all users
have to do is click back-and-forth between menus. The software also includes
a database of information on one hundred and thirty other female scientists.
The program provides information about how each of the eight featured women
scientists has trained for work in her discipline, the types of question
each answers in her daily work, and each scientist’s most memorable
experiences in settings that range from dolphin pools to mountain
wilderness. For example, the section on Nai-Chang Yeh, a physicist at Cal
Tech, includes information about her academic training in Taiwan, her
family, and a tour of the physics lab in which she works. The section on
Lauret Savoy, a geologist, includes an experiment on determining the age and
origin of fossils found in various sediment layers. The experiments are
fairly basic, the program does not provide detailed information about the
content of the scientists’ work.
Children of a late-elementary and middle-school age will most likely find
this software informative if they are interested in science and can read
independently. Students writing biographies will find a vast range of
information in this program. Ideally, each section would include more
activities, experiments and information about the scientists’ actual
Teachers may find this software to be a worthwhile resource for students.
They may consider keeping one copy of the software at-hand in a classroom
for times when students are conducting research.
Ease of Use / Install
The program installs easily on a Macintosh. A user just has to insert the
CD-ROM and click on the icon for Women in Science. Within the program, the
interface is intuitive. To move through the program, a child can click on
pictures and read simple instructions located on icons.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
Older elementary-school and middle-school students will most benefit from
the information in this software program. The CD-ROM presents the works and
lives of women scientists in ways that suggest to a child, especially a
girl, that a career in science is interesting, comprehensible and exciting.
To develop a real understanding of the work of these scientists, students
will have to do more research – the software’s description of actual science
concepts and experiments is superficial.