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Arda Thomson: inspiring the next generation of female scientists and engineers

Year: 2019 — Province: Manitoba
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Arda Thomson

Kindergarten (science, math, social studies, language arts, art)
Balmoral Hall School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

"I feel absolutely privileged that my daughters have had the opportunity to learn from a teacher who believes in STEM, believes in pushing the boundaries of what women can accomplish, and believes in girls education and academic excellence."
— Parent

Arda Thomson helps very young girls develop a depth of knowledge of science and research typical of much older students and guides them to become confident, curious, resilient and globally aware—the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Teaching approach

Arda provides stimulating and purposeful learning opportunities that address the needs of students to foster their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development. She ensures that each of her young female students can see what she can be every single day.

STEM in the classroom

  • Immerses students in STEM: they learn the scientific method and design process, and keep journals to record their predictions, observations and conclusions; questions arising in Show and Teach go on the Wonder Wall to be answered through teacher-guided class research and discussion.
  • Ensures children have a variety of experiences with technology while appropriately limiting screen time: they do online research, working with Grade 4 buddies to design posters showing their work, and using a Bee-Bot to practise addition and subtraction and learn the rudiments of coding.
  • Collaborates with technology teacher to enhance learning: students record their presentations on the rights of a child, using a green screen to synchronize pictures they had drawn of children who have rights and those who do not with their voices.
  • Focuses classroom activity centres around tinkering and building: children can make structures with large wooden bricks and lumber, use tools such as levels and meter sticks, and explore magnetism (with magnets), optics (with lenses), and pressure and buoyancy (sinking and floating submarine).

Outstanding achievements

  • Spearheads school's annual STEAM-themed fair, a day-long festival with guest speakers and booths set up for exploring; involves representatives from outside organizations to share their expertise; older students lead activities for junior school students.
  • Chosen to join a provincial committee, involving the government and some of the largest engineering firms in the province, to come up with a plan to reach the goal of having 30 percent of the practising engineers in Manitoba be women by 2030.

Get in touch!

Balmoral Hall School
630 Westminster Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 3S1

Twitter: @balmoralhall

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