‘Every week is science week at Ruyton’
Our girls feel the ongoing passion and excitement towards their learning in STEM. However, this week, National Science Week 2019, was an important opportunity to shine the light on why this subject is so powerful in the girls’ development.
As many of us will recall, traditional schooling segregated the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, teaching them separately as discrete subjects. However, STEM does not follow suit. Rather, it focuses on converging the subjects and teaching them via real-world applications. The STEM curriculum works by exposing the girls to opportunities where they can solve real-life situations. The world, today, revolves around the concepts devised by STEM. The four disciplines have becomes intensely involved in every nook and cranny of our lives. It is due to this that propagating STEM knowledge has become a necessity.
Why STEM for Girls?
One of the most widely published reasons as to why we want more girls in STEM is because of their insufficient representation in the science and maths circles. However, we don’t often hear about the psychology that sits beneath why schools are encouraging more girls to pursue STEM based subjects both in school and beyond.
Girls and Risk
Something we know to be true is that many girls often overestimate the risk and underestimate their ability. As a result of this we often see girls play it safe in their learning, choosing to pursue opportunities they feel more at ease with. While girls may be willing to take risks, they are often less likely to seek them out. Therefore, as a girls’ school, we know how important it is to create the opportunities and conditions where our girls can become more comfortable with intellectual risk. In every subject our teachers consider how they can support the girls to become more comfortable with having a go and stepping out of their comfort zone. In particular, the hands-on nature of STEM allows chances to tinker and this provides powerful opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn. This idea of tinkering supports girls to build their risk appetite and become more comfortable with making mistakes.
Inviting Intellectual Curiosity
The nature of STEM based learning invites and values intellectual curiosity. It encourages girls to wonder, to make observations, to hypothesise and adjust. However, it does so in an environment where their guesses and observations are not being continually measured or judged. We call these experiences ‘low stakes’ opportunities where the learning is highly valued but not continuously tested.
Imbuing a Love of Science
At Ruyton Junior School weekly STEM specialist lessons begin from Prep. Our theory behind this is to instil a joy and curiosity about the maths and sciences from an early age. The learning experiences are very engaging and hands on where the girls have the opportunity to feel excited about asking questions and engaging in experiments.
Read about our Year 4 girls DNA extraction experiment
Head of Junior School
Ruyton Girls' School