STEM subjects are dynamic and ever changing with constant new discoveries, inventions and theories – and it’s exciting to see this dynamism reflected in how we teach STEM subjects!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, which sees young girls being tutored in mathematics – through ballet! The Shine for Girls is an after-school club, which uses dance and movement to help students understand quadratic equations, fractions, statistics, problem-solving and probability.
Researchers found that combining intellectual and physical activities helped students “more effectively understand and retain material”. By learning through dance, pupils become ‘active learners’ rather than passively absorbing information as they would in the traditional education settings.
Many of the girls who participated were struggling with the subject prior to starting the lessons, but after a 10 week course the programme leaders found that the pupils involved had an average improvement in maths scores of 184 per cent and an average increase in confidence of 148 per cent. Some girls’ academic performance increased by 600 per cent.
While using dance to teach maths isn’t a reality in most classrooms – we might have to stick to puzzles and games to encourage ‘active learning’ – the success of the Shine for Girls programme clearly shows the power of taking a different approach and using creativity in the classroom.