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STEM News Roundup: Is Grade Skipping the Solution to the STEM Gender Gap?

Jane Charlton became a tenured professor at Pennsylvania State University by her late 20s thanks to skipping ahead a few grades. Charlton told The Atlantic she didn't mean to skip ninth grade and earn her master's at the age on 19, followed by a Ph.D at age 22. However, due to teacher strikes and encouraging professors, she was able to break into a field that allowed her to "chart the history of galaxies."

According to Tom Clynes of The Atlantic, Charlton's story is quite uncommon. Clynes cites a National Association for Gifted Children study that estimates that somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million mathematically gifted female students are not provided the opportunity to skip grades. 

Clynes argues that the failure to accelerate these gifted girls means that "they move through schools and universities at a pace that all but ensures that their prime career-building years will, for those who want to have children, overlap with family-making years, forcing many to make career-stunting trade-offs." He further speculates that grade skipping will allow these students to become situated in their careers at an earlier age, which may give those "who want to have children the opportunity to reach high levels in STEM than currently is the case."

The article goes on to examine the arguments for and against grade acceleration. 

Read more about this compelling theory here.

Teachers Participating in the March For Science

In acknowledgement of Earth Day, April 22, over 500 cities will play host to demonstrations, which are being referred to as the March For Science. A number of teachers will be marching to promote and defend the importance of science education.

"Students who do not understand how the world works and who are not comfortable with using the methods of science are in the danger of being disempowered by others who do understand these things and who can use them in positions of this advantage," said Yvonne Lassalle, a science teacher from Brooklyn, NY, according to PBS.

Sondra Lawson, who teaches science at a middle school in New Mexico, plans to march to raise awareness about the lack of state funding for science education. "Everyone at the national level talks about how STEM careers are the way of the future but the truth is that no one wants​ to make the investment in a K-12 pipeline for science and technology," she told PBS.

Science has led to breakthrough discoveries and inventions and greater understanding of our world and universe. If students are able to help continue the work of scientists before them, they can make a lasting impact in the world and create a better future for their generation.

Learn more about the March For Science here.

Why Statistics Is Being Taught in Earlier Grades

Jobs that require statistics are in a high demand and the everyday real-world application of the subject is enough of an argument for it to be taught at lower grade levels. 

"'All students should be taught at least basic statistics,' said Ginger Rae Lynn Wilson, a 3rd grade teacher in Griffin, Ga. 'You hear so much talk about STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and making sure our children are competitive globally; well, I don't know how they would be competitive in a global sense if they don't know how to interpret information and compute data,'" according to Education Week.

By introducing statistics earlier, the report claims that student's critical-thinking skills will expand significantly. Because statistics is context-based, students will have to think reasonably and base answers to their work through real-world applications. Integrating statistics in elementary grade curriculum seems prudent, since analyzing data is among one of the most common skills in a variety of jobs both inside of the STEM fields and out. 

Read the full story.

NASA and TI Join Forces for a Virtual Scavenger Hunt to Introduce Galaxy Gray Calculator

NASA and calculator experts TI are coming together to bring a fun virtual scavenger hunt for students. This event serves as another way to get students excited about STEM subjects and the use of VR tools.

"NASA and TI today launched a virtual scavenger hunt with out-of-this world prizes, designed to ignite kids’ interest in STEM subjects," according to a press release. 

"'The Search for STEMnauts' challenges kids in 6-12th grade to solve space-related puzzles for a chance to win a stellar prize pack, including a $500 Amazon gift card, a NASA swag bag, a live video chat with a NASA astronaut and TI’s new space-themed, 'Galaxy Gray' calculator."

There will be weekly challenges over the next 6 weeks, where students can both show off and learn coding skills and reap the benefits of STEM education.

Learn more about the virtual scavenger hunt here.

 

Compiled By Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

 

 

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