Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Breaking down science stereotypes

If you ask a class of primary school children to draw a picture of a scientist, often they will draw a man in a white lab coat.

But, on the eve of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, there are many New Zealand women scientists trying to break down that stereotype.

Among them is House of Science chief executive Chris Duggan.

House of Science distributes more than 300 science resource kits to classrooms around the country, empowering teachers to deliver “meaningful, hands-on” science lessons.

A former secondary school science teacher and three-time nominee for the Westpac ‘Woman of Influence’ awards (science and innovation category), Chris established House of Science in Tauranga in 2013.

In partnership with the Wright Family Foundation, she has taken her vision to raise scientific literacy to nine other centres throughout New Zealand, with more clamouring to join.

Chloe Wright, founder of the Wright Family Foundation, says House of Science is a project which fits perfectly with the values and goals of the foundation.

“The Wright Family Foundation is about empowerment through education, which is exactly what House of Science is achieving.

“And if their work helps more young women think about taking up science careers, that’s got to be positive.”

Among the 35 topics children can learn about through House of Science are pollution, skeletons, and electricity, through to the recently-added topics of weather, space and climate change.

Each resource kit includes at least five hands-on experiments, catering for Year 1-8 students, and includes bi-lingual instructions for both teachers and students.

“We want to normalise science in the classroom,” says Chris.

“We understand that many primary teachers lack the confidence to deliver science lessons, but by bringing science into every classroom in the country we want to break down the stereotype of that man in the white lab coat.”

Joining House of Science as its ambassador last year was microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, who, with her hot pink hair, definitively breaks down the stereotype of what a scientist looks like.

She was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication in the recent New Year’s honours and is well-known for her ability to communicate science in a simple and straightforward way.

“I don’t fit the image or the mould of what a scientist looks like, even within my community, so it’s about challenging some of those preconceptions that ‘you can’t possibly be serious looking like that’.

“It’s important that people outside of science, especially children who might be interested in going into science, see that you can be different,” she says.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Super Fund/Canada Bid v NZTA: Tow Preferred Bidders For Auckland Light Rail

The two preferred delivery partners for Auckland light rail have been chosen and a final decision on who will build this transformational infrastructure will be made early next year, Minister of Transport Phil Twyford announced. More>>

ALSO:

9.3 Percent: Gender Pay Gap Unchanged Since 2017

“While it has remained flat since 2017, the gender pay gap has been trending down since the series began in 1998, when it was 16.2 percent,” labour market statistics manager Scott Ussher said. More>>

ALSO:

Ex-KPEX: Stuff Pulls Pin On Media Companies' Joint Ad-Buying Business

A four-way automated advertising collaboration between the country's largest media companies is being wound up after one of the four - Australian-owned Stuff - pulled the pin on its involvement as part of a strategic review of its operations ... More>>

Bus-iness: Transdev To Acquire More Auckland And Wellington Operations

Transdev Australasia today announced that it has agreed terms to acquire two bus operations in Auckland and Wellington, reaching agreement with Souter Investments to purchase Howick and Eastern Buses and Mana Coach Services. More>>

ALSO: