3 ways for teachers to increase the number of girls in high level maths

A sketchnote for the article “I would rather die: reasons given by 16 year olds for not continuing their study of mathematics”

The article highlights the key role that a teacher can play in the classroom. Teachers have more influence over student decisions to continue in a subject than they think! It is empowering to note that teachers can take action to address the 3 main issues that surround the non-participation in mathematics. Go teachers!

Why do girls pick science?

A sketchnote for the article “I want to be a scientist/a teacher: students’ perceptions of career decision-making in gender-typed non-traditional areas of work”

The article highlights the importance of family support, and positive family role models, in having girls choose to study and continue with science.

The big question remaining is how can we influence parental perceptions of science and technology, to encourage more women to study and participate in these traditionally male-dominated fields?

The barriers to girls doing physics

A sketchnote for the article “Girls and Physics: Continuing barriers on ‘belonging'”

The article raises some interesting points – Physics textbooks and contexts of questions are masculine, which can decrease girls’ sense of ‘belonging’, even within a single sex class or school.

There are many reasons why girls don’t go into Physics – many of which can be actively addressed by teachers in their course and assessment design.

What is STEM?

A working definition for STEM in Education.

From STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), to STEAM (incorporating arts) STEAMD (plus design) to STEMM (adding medicine) to SMART (science, maths and related disciplines) to just ‘the Sciences’ (as described in the 2017 Australian Government report as science, including medical science, earth science and mathematical sciences, and related disciplines such as engineering, technology). What do they all mean? Is one better than the other? How do you teach it? Why is it important?

“STEM is the teaching of subjects within the STEM umbrella, the integrated teaching between those subjects, and the skills such as collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity that are taught through those subjects.”

The important things to consider are that:

  1. Students need a solid understanding of basic science and mathematics so participation and excellence in these core subjects should be promoted.
  2. Students need opportunities to be exposed to interdisciplinary approaches in their learning. Connections between subjects should be made and the transfer of knowledge and skills across disciplines encouraged.
  3. Students need opportunities to learn and practice skills of communication, collaboration, project based work and enterprise in order to be successful workers in the future. School needs to provide these experiences, and the STEM lens provides an authentic way to do so.

There is no one way to “do STEM”. Aim for authentic integration of subjects in projects or with driving questions that are relevant to your local context.