We are a European Project Partnership working actively to support girls in school to extend their knowledge and understanding of the science community and science as applied in real working life environments.
Europe’s future economy and social coherence is depending on young generation with interests, skills and capacity far beyond what is offered in the traditional educational system.
Europe needs young people deeply engaged in science, research and innovation – and based on positive and engaging experiences of what science, research and innovation is at a very early age and in early schooling.
Young people are increasingly disengaged from science learning in schools and this is causing great concern in the European Commission and other global players.
We call this the Commission’s SCIENCE LEARNING INNOVATION AGENDA, described and documented across numerous Commission documents, research papers and guidelines.
The core message is that science learning in schools needs dramatic change and fundamental re-thinking to appeal to the young generations.
We thus conclude that science aspirations sit in an uneasy tension with femininity and must be continually carefully negotiated and defended against challenges from wider popular discourses which align science with masculinity.
The project will engage the girls’ teams in 3 major challenges and the projects work programme is based on and follows these 3 challenges:
HOW we FEEL SCIENCE:
Create a more authentic understanding of science and gender in early schooling through engaging teenage girls as co-creators of this understanding, through telling the personal and collective and gender-sensitive stories education and about the image of science in society.
SCIENCE in REAL LIFE:
Engage the participating girls and their support teachers in real-life and real-time science and research experience in collaboration with the local community, including interacting with female role-models in science and research.
VISIONS of EARLY SCIENCE ENGAGEMENT:
Invite the girls to co-create scenarios of new ways of science learning in school that will appear attractive and relevant to teenage girls and their emerging gender identities.
The SCIENCEGIRLS GUIDE TO GENDER-SENSITIVE SCIENCE LEARNING INNOVATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOL offers secondary schools across Europe authentic inspiration to engage in gender-sensitive science learning innovation.
The ScienceGirls Guide offers:
• guidance on the basic principles in innovative gender-sensitive science learning
• special guidance on the epic dimension of creating deep and sustainable interest among female teenagers in research, science and innovation
• guidance on working with the community and establishing community partnerships, including with female role-models
• guidance on the practical aspects of young students’ co-creation and the accompanying teacher roles
The testimonies and contributions from the girls’ teams and their support teachers demonstrate the impact on the students and on the teachers.
The aim of the video is to allow the girls’ teams to document and share their local and collaborative experience along the project, and in particular to document and describe their reactions to the innovative work forms and activities in the project with a special focus on how the project activities changed their mentality and created a renewed interest in science learning with strong links to female identities and aspirations.
SCIENCEGIRLS SCENARIOS OF INNOVATIVE SCIENCE LEARNING is the future-oriented outcome of the project. The scenarios illustrate scenes of gender-sensitive and female oriented science learning situations and try to explain – why the scenario is attractive to teenage girls – how the scenario offers science engagement in line with the formation of female identities – what would be the wider benefit of such science learning approaches.
The primary aim of SCIENCE LEARNING CO-CREATION paper is to present the project’s lessons learned in a form that is useful to schools, educational authorities, researchers and policy-makers as the project is one of the first attempts in Europe to base its results on the direct and uncompromised co-creation from the involved female teenagers.
Who will drive
The policy paper INNOVATION IN (GENDER-SENSITIVE) SCIENCE LEARNING IN SCHOOLS IS IMMINENT – BUT WHO WILL DRIVE? provides real-life based insights concerning the need of a strong gender-perspective in order to innovate science learning in schools, and makes recommendations in terms of availability of resources for further research, innovation and practical experimentation.
The primary aim of this paper is to present the project’s lessons learned in a form that is useful to schools, educational authorities, researchers and policy-makers.
One of the roles that the teams of girls undertook in ScienceGirls project was that of being a journalist, which was aimed to record their activities and testimonies along the project in order to foster the creation of deep and sustainable interest among peer female teenagers in research, science and innovation.