Port Noarlunga Primary School

Girls in Science

Jun 28, 2022 | class story

by Desma McMillan (Year 3/4 Teacher)

This term I was lucky enough to work with a wonderful group of Year 3 and 4 girls from Mrs Parkes, Mrs Smale, and my class for science. This was a unique experience for me and one that I truly enjoyed. 

Science as a Human Endeavor

The girls first entered the classroom with lots of trepidation at the prospect of working with other girls and a different teacher. We spent our first lesson together considering the valuable contributions to science that women and girls have made throughout history. Most people are aware of Marie Curie and the significant contributions that she made with her work on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize and the only person to win Nobel prizes in two different sciences: physics and chemistry. 

I felt awesome with more girls around because we got to learn how to research. I would like to try to research again. I felt more confident to share.

—Aleeah

The girls were all aware of Marie Curie, but were unable to mention any other significant woman within the science field. This struck me with a grave sense of travesty that our girls had only one female to look up to as a role model in the field of science, and one that is no longer living. 

We researched many other women in science, past and present, and became excited by their achievements. We didn’t fully understand many of the achievements in science terms, but were now more excited by what we had discovered. There was an overriding sense that we could be a team of scientists. This felt like a positive step forward for me. I was delighted by the girls’ excitement and really looking forward to working with them. 

Throughout the term I noticed that the girls became more and more comfortable with working with each other. They began to be more comfortable with expressing their thoughts and opinions. We laughed together a lot, experienced disappointment with failed experiments and encouraged each other to have another try. To me this is all the work of true scientists. They accept failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Some thoughts from the girls:

I like science because we can get a little silly without the boys going crazy. I enjoyed all the experiments and want to do them again. Gemma

It was good without the boys because sometimes they are very pushy. I learnt about researching different things. I felt more confident sharing things with all of the girls. Gracie

I felt more confident to share and it is cool how girls are everywhere. It was more quiet and I loved doing experiments and learning about solids and liquids & gasses. Mae

It felt good at science without the boys because there wasn’t as much noise. And I learnt in science was which crayons melted first and which liquids freeze first. April

I like science without the boys. It is nice and quiet because some boys can be very loud.We get lots of work done. We do very fun thing’s. It felt so fun without the boys. I have learnt so many things like researching, testing food and how to do experiments. Holly 

I felt awesome with more girls around because we got to learn how to research. I would like to try to research again. I felt more confident to share. Aleeah

Some interesting sites to view

4 female scientists today who are changing the world:

https://www.srgtalent.com/blog/4-female-scientists-today-who-are-changing-the-world

22 pioneering women in science history you really should know about:

https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/10-amazing-women-in-science-history-you-really-should-know-about/

International Day of Women and Girls in Science:

https://www.un.org/en/observances/women-and-girls-in-science-day

The STEM Gap: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/

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