Think Physics Catalyst Fund

Project: Other

Participants

Description

‘Think Physics’ is an ambitious project in North East England that addresses a fundamental threat to physics, gender imbalance. Only 21% of the national university undergraduate student population are female (IoP, 2012). Think Physics is an imaginative, innovative and holistic support scheme that inspires, excites and engages children through their journey into physics and related STEM disciplines. With a focus on real-world applications of science and associated career paths, Think Physics aims to: (1) Increase levels of science capital in children in Think Physics partner schools; (2) Increase the uptake of physics at A Level in the North East, particularly among girls and other under-represented groups; (3) Increase the uptake of physics and wider STEM related disciplines , particularly among girls and other under-represented groups.

Key findings

Our research findings continue to be reported on the NUSTEM website www.nustem.uk. Our key findings from the Think Physics project illustrate the need to work with key stakeholders (teachers, parents and families) as well as the young people themselves to raise their science capital through providing career informed curriculum and ensuring that physics and STEM could be for 'people like me'. Our research with young people have highlighted the following:
(1) Most children report they like science, but there is a steady decline in enjoyment of science from as early as age 7 or 8. Girls experience a sharper decline in enjoyment of science compared to boys.
(2) Girls and boys self-identify differently from as early as age 7. Boys are more likely to consider themselves ‘clever’, while girls are more likely to consider themselves ‘friendly’.
(3) Most children believe you need to be clever to be a scientist, but girls are more likely to believe this than boys. As girls are less likely to identify as clever, this is likely to affect their future science participation.
(4) More boys report to know and aspire towards STEM jobs than girls. Where pupils do aspire to STEM careers, girls are more inclined towards health and life sciences jobs and boys the physical sciences and technology careers.
(5) Boys are more confident in their science abilities than girls.
(6) As children progress through education they have fewer conversations about science outside of school.
(7) Boys are more likely to believe that ‘a science qualification will help them get a good job’ than girls.
More information can be found at www.nustem.uk
Short titleThink Physics
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/01/1431/12/17

Funding

  • Higher Education Funding Council for England: £1,176,716.00