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STEM News Roundup: National Study to Analyze Effect of Spatial Visualization on Gender Roles in STEM

STEM News Round-Up: National Study to Analyze Effect of Spatial Visualization on Gender Roles in STEM

This week in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), a new four-year study might have significant implications on educating females in STEM. 

Four-Year Study Seeks Effect of Spatial Training on Middle School Students

A new national four-year study conducted by Ohio State University is using three middle schools in rural Colorado to determine the effect of OSU professor Dr. Sheryl Sorby’s spatial visualization training curriculum on 7th-grade students, said Hillsdale Daily News.

The study seeks to challenge gender roles and career stereotypes in STEM with the training.

“[G]irls are a huge part of the study. Separate studies have hypothesized that early men, evolving into their societal roles as hunters, demonstrate a preclusion toward spatial awareness where women, shuffled into gatherer roles, gained a natural proclivity for recognizing and remembering food sources,” the article said.

In other words, spatial skills training is hypothesized to benefit females in math achievement and help them better succeed in STEM later on.

Read the full story

Partnerships Delivers Electronic STEM Learning to Afterschool Students

A recently announced partnership between the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, Isabella Products, Inc. and the Museum of Science, Boston will provide an electronic STEM curriculum via Fable tablets to after school students in the area.

"During the 9-week session, fourth and fifth graders at the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club participate in an integrated initiative designed to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning beyond the standard school day,” said the companies in a joint statement.

"Fable's partnership announcement follows a growing number of successful pilot tests of the tablet in elementary and afterschool programs in the Boston area and New York City. The mission of the Fable Pilot Program is to help empower teachers to introduce digital lesson plans and provide access to tablets for each student for individualized instruction that supports one-on-one learning.”

Read more here.

U.S. Army Awards $5.7 Million Grant to Disadvantaged Populations

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) announced the U.S. Army’s award of the $5.7 million grant to help launch the Vivian Burey Marshall STEM Program (VBM Program).

The program is "a four-year pilot designed to support middle school students with year-round, out-of-school-time activities... [that will] feature increasingly sophisticated challenges that will encourage students to develop progressively advanced STEM literacy and competency,” said the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in a statement.

Read more about TMCF here

Research Proves Effectiveness of Robotics in STEM

Research from Tufts university has found that robotics programs help learners as young as four delve into STEM.

Through robotics programs, the study found, students are learning practical applications for science and math and are being encouraged to enter the “maker movement” that helps foster creativity.

"There are many robotics platforms that children can get started with for their inventions and playful learning of fundamental STEM concepts. Examples of robotics and DIY electronics platforms include Arduino, Lego Mindstorms, Raspberry Pi, Phiro and LittleBits,” said EETimes.com.

Such programs have been blazing a trail in STEM.

Read more here.

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

12/1/2015

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