Science Grrl is a grass roots organization, based in the UK, that celebrates and supports women in science. Interestingly, the organization began when the European Union’s ‘Science – It’s a Girl Thing’ campaign struck outrage when the advertisement didn’t actually include any real science! You can watch the original video below:
Science Grrl wanted to change the idea that science had to become pink or all about makeup in order for girls to be interested. Their tag line is “Because science is for everybody” and they are working hard to address the underrepresentation of girls in the STEM subjects. In 2014 Science Grrl published a report, Through Both Eyes: the case for a Gender lens in STEM, which is an excellent read. The report looks at the need to challenge biases and stereotypes and to seriously look at the cultural messages – visible and invisible –that are passed on to young girls. The report claims that the decision-making of girls and their uptake of STEM subjects relies on three main facts:
- Relevance of STEM = Is it for people like me?
- Perceived, actual and relative ability = Do I feel confident?
- Science capital = Can I see the possibilities and pathways?
You can access the full report here: http://sciencegrrl.co.uk/assets/SCIENCE-GRRL-Stem-Report_FINAL_WEBLINKS-1.pdf
This report has been very helpful to me in rationalising our lesson plans and teaching resources for our final project.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Teaching Resources
This Government of Canada website has some excellent teaching resources for kids aged 4-16, particularly in their Learning Circle resources. The resources include: Indigenous stories, (both the written version and an audio file); interviews with Indigenous youth from around Canada; and, suggestions for literary images. I like how each lesson has general information, several units and teacher resources, making it easy for teachers to pick out bits and pieces that they see best fitting with their classroom learners.
Embedding indigenous perspectives in teaching school science
Appanna, S. D. (2011). Embedding indigenous perspectives in teaching school science. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, The, 40, 18. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/documentSummary;dn=610014455255962;res=IELIND
This article is helping me shape the scheme of work I am creating for our final project. In the article, Subhashni Appanna argues that we must first understand the barriers that face Indigenous teenagers when trying to understand Science, before we can aim to improve teaching and learning for these students. For example, Appanna states that, “The relevance of the school curriculum is a key factor in Indigenous students leaving early” (Appanna, 2011, p. 19). She then outlines how improvements to teaching practices can improve interest and success rates of Indigenous students learning. Many of these correlate with the information from our readings in the course to date. For example: the need for positive teacher-student relationships; recognition of Indigenous Knowledge Systems; and, the essentiality that teachers must pursue links with Indigenous communities. I found Appanna’s analysis of Indigenous learning styles interesting and helpful for my final project. For example, she states that when teaching Indigenous students, holistic rather than analytic tasks, and visual more than verbal oppurtunities for output will play to their strengths (Appanna, 2011, p. 20).
Camp blends scientific, cultural teachings for aboriginal girls
The aim of this three-day camp, based in Waterloo, Ontario, was to get Indigenous girls in grades 6-8 the chance to engage with cultural and scientific activities and interested in STEM subjects. The rationale behind this demographic was to reach them before they get the choice to opt out of certain subjects in high school. This program is unique as it involved caregivers and parents with the aim that this would encourage students to study these subjects, and to consider the possibility of a STEM career in the future. The University of Waterloo is aiming to host this free camp annually.
Get Them Interested
Love, D. (2014). Get Them Interested. Learning & Leading with Technology, 41(7), 25–27. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=97093593&site=ehost-live&scope=site
This article discusses how to get girls interested in coding and programming. The author, Dorian Love, discusses several practical tools with which he has found success in this realm. Firstly, he often uses the discovery method when students are using a new tool, giving the students the resources to have a go by themselves and, secondly, for peers to teach and mentor each other (Love, 2014, p. 25). I have found this strategy to have positive implications on my own students when I’m introducing coding to them through the app, Move the Turtle. Love describes a competition he designs for his students to make their own flash games, which he claims takes the ‘nerdyness’ out of programming (Love, 2014, p. 27). His ideas made me think about what I could do in my own classroom to create more of an interest in coding and programming as well as how I could incorporate this into my final project.