This thread is for links about educational resources for Year 7 pupils, 11 - 12 years old. Please do include anything you think might be relevant, including but not limited to:
- Videos about STEM subjects, demos, women in STEM, jobs in STEM etc. - Resources for teachers about STEM subjects - How to encourage girls into STEM - Information on demos - Information on running after-school clubs around STEM subjects - Organisations or groups supporting teachers
From Alom Shaha:
In an essay on her frustration caused by the widespread use of the “child-as-scientist” meme, Marie-Claire Shanahan says that “science isn’t just a grownup version of a child’s curiosity”. She points out that “becoming a scientist requires that they learn and skillfully practice many abstract skills that are far from intuitive. When students struggle with scientific thinking later in life it isn’t because they have unlearned or lost the ability, it’s because they (for any number of reasons) didn’t get to take the next steps to developing those skills and understanding.”
Another popular idea that children can “learn through play” deeply frustrates many education professionals because its proponents often fail to acknowledge the complexities of teaching and learning.
You probably didn’t expect to see Sesame Street in this list, but they have a bit of a resource centre of demos and experiments. This one is aimed at parents who want to encourage younger children into STEM:
This is an activity pack for parents who want to encourage their children into STEM careers:
The British Science Association runs something called the CREST Awards (a bit like the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, but for STEM):
Each year, over 32,000 CREST Awards are undertaken by 11-to-19-year-olds, giving them opportunities to explore real-world science, technology, engineering and maths projects in an exciting way.
(I’m apparently not allowed to post a link here, but search for “CREST Awards” and you’ll find it.)
The information provided to schools by the BSA is currently entirely in print, but they’re quite rightly looking to move the whole initiative online, and this could also be an opportunity to rethink it in other fundamental ways. For example, how could they use the web to collect feedback from participating schools, or connect these schools with each other? Perhaps it’s also an opportunity for someone from ALD to engage with them and see if there’s a way to add particular support for girls in STEM.
The latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’ is on the subject of Marie Curie (actually her family, but it focuses on her). Towards the the end, Patricia Fara, a very good science historian, makes the unusual and interesting claim that Curie – or at least her public persona – provides a poor role model for women in science. Fara’s basic thesis is that Curie was such an extreme and unusual person that it might lead others to assume that only women like her can succeed in science.
I can’t currently post links here, but you can find the show online by searching for “In Our Time The Curies”. (I don’t know if the content is available outside the UK.)
In Our Time is available outside the UK (listening now!) and the The Curies is here:
I have heard said before that Marie Curie is not a great role model because she’s not very relatable, but I think that really depends on who’s doing the relating tbh. I’ve found some of the women that I’ve read about via editing our anthology to be really inspiring, despite being very different and very dead. It might sound silly, but the fact that Chien Shiung Wu, for example, was separated from her family for eight years, with no contact, was really helpful when I was separated from my husband for five months as we grappled with the US immigration process. Five months, however hard it was, was nothing in comparison to eight years.
However, I do think that sometimes it’s not the woman that’s the problem, it’s the way her story is told. Florence Nightingale, for example, is usually taught as “the Lady with the Lamp”, with an emphasis on her nursing rather than her use of statistics and the graphical representation of data to both make and support calls for changes. That’s not to say that her work in the professionalisation of nursing wasn’t important, but to say that nursing is already seen as women’s work, whereas statistics is seen as a male field, and by ignoring her statistical knowledge and work, the traditional view of Nightingale flattens her out into a simplistic figure which does her no favours at all and fails capitalise on her as an example of a woman in statistics.
Just listened to The Curies, and the point made at the end is that she’s an awful role model because her story is “set up” to say that “you can’t be a normal woman and a good scientist”, and that she “confirms the stereotype” that “if you’re a woman you have to be really eccentric and strange” if you want to work in science, which is a very fair point.
We’ve developed a huge range of curriculum materials and resources at the Digital Schoolhouse; all of which are fully mapped to the new computing programmes of study. All the materials are aimed at 9 to 12 year olds but can be easily adapted to higher or lower year groups.
Each workshop is designed to last 4 and half hours, but they can be easily adjusted into a scheme of work for a half term. Workshops include: Shape Calculator, Beautiful Numbers, Let’s Doodle and many more.
Shorter activities are also available from the same website under the title “Playful Computing” (http://www.digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/content/playful-computing) these are mini play-based resources that work well as standalone activities that take up less than a lesson. Some of the more popular activities include “Making Faces: Programming with Playdough” and a traditional downloadable board game to teach programming.
Both areas of the website are being continuously updated, so check back regularly for updates.