1 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
2 Centro de Óptica (MEXICO)
3 Instituto Politécnico Nacional (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3447-3455
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In most countries there are many more men than women working in scientific fields; it is also well known that girls are less likely than boys to choose scientific and technological fields of study. The OCDE suggests that the stereotypes at home and school are the cause for this gender gap. Other authors suggest that the origins of the gap are the character and personality differences between sexes, for example: that men prefer to work with things, are more competitive, and like to take on greater risks; while women prefer to work with people, take on less risk, and prefer to collaborate than compete, among others. In order to promote changes in attitudes towards science we designed a workshop for children based on classic Physics experiments about gravity, properties of air, light-colors and density-buoyancy. The workshop began and finished with a questionnaire that consisted of multiple-choice questions; the instructions consist of experiments directly associated with each one of the questions. We analyze the answers of the children so as to know if there are differences in science proficiency between boys and girls in elementary school. The sample consists of 272 boys and 270 girls, from 4° (N=129), 5° (N=189) and 6° (N=234) grades, from 19 groups of 25 schools located in the states of Querétaro and Guanajuato, both in México. 15questions were analyzed separately using a simple bivariate logistic regression; coding 0=girl, 1=boy and 0=incorrect and 1= correct in the case of the answers. Logistic regression analysis was employed to predict the probability that a girl would outperform boys or vice versa. Univariate analysis indicated that girls were significantly more likely to be better in experimental science in 4th grade; the boys overcame girls in 5th but not significantly and are almost equal in 6th grade. Our results also indicate that a major change for girls arose between 4th and 5th grade, this can be explained with the onset of puberty in girls, which occurs approximately in 5th grade, two years before boys. The physical, psychological and mental changes that happen during puberty could explain the changes in the scholar achievement of girls.
Science education, gender, elementary education.