STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Girls in STEM

Stuff this week - Girls in STEM

If you are the average family you will have two kids with one boy and one girl. If you are not average like me you might have three girls! Either way you likely have an interest in girls and STEM.
Many STEM industries are typically male dominated yet despite this women have made and continue to make significant contributions to the total of human knowledge. Since the 1800s women like Ada LovelaceMarie Curie and Grace Hopper have been experts in their field. The recent movie Hidden Figures showed the critical roles women have played even in the face of overt racism. In the most recent times we can watch Physics Girl on YouTube, Ayeh Bedir is the CEO of LittleBits and Carrie-Ann Philbin started off as Geek Girl on YouTube, wrote some books and is now the Director of Education for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (She is also doing the awesome Crash Course Computer Science YouTube series)
What is interesting is that research shows that in school a high proportion of girls are interested in STEM yet only a small number go onto a career in these fields. This is not an Australian specific problem.
There are a large number of incentives and organisations dedicated to addressing this imbalance. In Australia we have Tech Girls are Superheroes and Girl Geek Academy and there are Australian chapters of globals movements such as Robogals. Globally there is Techgirlz and Girls Who Code and many more. So there is plenty of support for your girls if they are interested in STEM.
There are practical things you can do at home. Let the girls use the drill and the hammer; make a billy cart with them. Encourage them to make things with electronics. Have fun doing various science experiments. Include them when Mum or Dad is fixing something. There are some great pages on the Internet showcasing women in STEM which would be great to look at together.
In my experience in primary school it is the girls who are more likely to be interested and focused during a STEM activity. We just need to maintain that passion throughout their schooling.

Stuff in the news

Bucking the STEM trend: one student's journey to success -  Imogen Low, who wanted to become a doctor, shared the perception of many other students that ICT was for “geeks and gamers”. However, that all changed in 2014 when her teacher entered her into the Young ICT Explorers (YICTE) competition. An article from The Educator 18 April 2017.
How Do You Get Middle School Girls Hooked on STEM? Ask TechGirlz - Philadelphia-based non-profit TechGirlz takes on the challenge of getting young girls to stick with STEM education. An article from PC Magazine 18 November 2016
Why is Russia so good at encouraging women into tech? - An article from BBC News 21 April 2017
Want to Break Stereotypes in STEM and Computing? Take a Look at Computer History - By sharing the history of computers with our students we can help break the stereotypes about gender and race in computing. An article from Edsurge 6 April 2017.

Stuff to buy

New STEM Picture Books - STEM picture books introduce young children to science, technology, engineering, and math. 
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

A STEM revolution across the curriculum - Amid urgent calls for an enrichment of STEM education in Australia, Terrie Jones and her team from Ravenswood School for Girls in Sydney plotted a plan of action. An article from EducationHQ Australia 18 April 2017.
The next generation of innovators is here—and they’re girls - An article about a technology competition sponsored by gemaker 9 January 2017.

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge - For grades 5+.The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge will ask participants to develop games in response to a central theme or idea. Registration open 1 May and submissions close 25 August.
Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations are OPEN. See the YouTube video here!
Edutech 2017 - EduTECH is the LARGEST education event in Asia-Pac and the Southern Hemisphere. 7-9 June 2017 in Sydney.
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Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club

Stuff to do in Brisbane

Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017 
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Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane
It's Rocket Science School Incursions - Educational and fully interactive project based rocket science incursions for primary and secondary schools in a safe and empowering learning environment.

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