STEM Spotlight

Updated: Jun 15

Journalist: Tori Henderson (Year 7)

This term on Friday the 16th of October, the girls in 7L were invited to a STEM workshop which consisted of an introduction into STEM and engineering, LED lights and coding using Arduino, turbo thrusters, paper planes, and slime.

Are you wondering what STEM stands for?

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

All the girls enjoyed these experiments and particularly enjoyed getting to meet people from all around Australia who were running the workshop.

Australia has issues with the number of women in stem and how fairly they get treated. Did you know that only one-quarter of workers in STEM jobs are female? Even though more jobs in STEM are rising, these roles are majorly filled by men.

Women are graduating STEM degrees in higher number than previous years. The number of women who are awarded STEM degrees every year has increased by over 50,000 in the last decade all together. Over 200,000 women graduated from STEM fields in 2016 compared to just 140,000 in 2009.

The gender gap in STEM continues. Regardless of the positive trend of more women choosing STEM subjects in university, the number of men choosing these subjects increases too. The number of men in these subjects is increasing faster than the number of women.

As well as all of that, there is a wage gap in STEM fields for women. How are we going to increase the numbers of women in STEM if the pay for jobs in that sector is lower than men's pay? This is unfair and an issue which must be fixed!

STEM Spotlight at LIHS

Amber Sloan is an aspiring Scientist who has created an innovative and exciting experiment. Year 10 Science students are given an assessment task in which they can create their own Science project. Amber and her group partner, Kalani Conroy-Allen, decided to monitor heart rates and their reaction to specific movie and TV genres.

Basically, they tried to find out which genre (horror, romance, thriller, musical...) makes your heart rate increase and beat the fastest!

This was a very intelligent experiment and the girls collected clips from Youtube focusing on these different genres, then created a subject form for their test subjects to fill out. The subject form looked at variables in the experiment, such as whether the subject had had caffeine that day, or whether they were on any medication. These variables could influence the final results.

They placed a heart rate monitor on their subject's finger and recorded the different rates of the subject's heart through the opening, middle, and end of each genre's clips. They asked both teachers and students to be tested.

Amber stated that she was surprised by the different resting heart rates of her subjects. She was also not too surprised when the horror genre results showed the biggest increase in heart rate. Musicals, as a genre, recorded the lowest change in heart rate. The experiment was fantastic and very professional. There is currently a study which took place in Canada and stole their experiment idea and method! Read more about this Canadian study here

A huge congratulations to Amber Sloan and Kalani Conroy-Allen for organising such an innovative experiement. These are two women in STEM who are leading the way for younger students. Well done, ladies.

For a look into their experiment, watch the video below.

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