Reference Handbook CHEMISTRY

Reference Handbook CHEMISTRY 28
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Published Date:09-07-2017
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Teacher’s Reference Handbook CHEMISTRY AN ROINN DEPARTMENT OF OIDEACHAIS EDUCATION AGUS EOLAÍOCHTA AND SCIENCE Department of Education and Science: Intervention Projects in Physics and Chemistry With assistance from the European Social FundDr Andy Moynihan, Sligo Institute of Technology Dr Brian Murphy, Sligo Institute of Technology Mr Padraic Ó Cléireacháin, formerly of St McNissi’s College, Garron Tower, Co. Antrim Dr Ann O’Donoghue, Sligo Institute of Technology Dr Adrian Somerfield, formerly of St Columba’s College, Dublin Mr Terry Spacey, IFI, Arklow, Co. Wicklow Mr Peter Start, University College, Dublin The Department of Education and Science also wishes to acknowledge the provision of material from the following sources. Chemistry in Britain; Journal of Chemical Education; New Scientist; Pan Books Ltd; Prentice-Hall International; School Science Review; Times Newspapers Ltd.INTRODUCTION This handbook has been produced as part of the has an increasingly important role to play in Department of Education and Science’s Equality of industry, medicine, entertainment and in the home. Opportunity Programme. The project developed out The chemical industry has added immeasurably to of the Department’s scheme of Intervention the quality of our lives through the development of Projects in Physics and Chemistry which was new materials, new and improved pharmaceuticals, implemented from 1985 with a view to increasing improved quality of drinking water and food the participation of girls in the study of the physical products, etc. sciences. It is hoped that the material contained in The individual modules making up this handbook this book will assist teachers in presenting have been selected around the content and chemistry in a manner which will give due structure of the syllabus to provide easy access to cognisance to gender differences in relation to resource material in a way which supports the interests and attitudes. It is also hoped that the implementation of the course. However, it is material will help teachers in their continuing quest important to realise that these modules do not to develop new approaches to their teaching which define the syllabus. They do not determine the will make chemistry more interesting and exciting scope of the syllabus nor the depth of treatment that for all their students. is required or recommended. Rather, each module International trends in chemical education show is designed to provide additional background attempts being made to develop syllabi which information for teachers. Each module contains incorporate an appreciation of the social, suggestions on the teaching methods that the environmental and technological aspects of authors have found beneficial over the years and chemistry. Chemical educators throughout the world gives details of student experiments and teacher are attempting to make students aware of demonstrations. Worked examples are included how mankind benefits from the advances being which the teacher may find useful in the class room made in chemistry. In developing this handbook or for homework. close attention has been paid to these It is not intended that this book be used as a international trends. textbook or be read from cover to cover. Rather, it is The importance of science in general, and intended that it be used as a reference handbook to chemistry in particular, in today’s society should be assist teachers in their task of conveying the considered when relevant throughout the course. As excitement and fascination of chemistry. in the syllabus, considerable emphasis has been Chemistry is an experimental subject. General placed on the social and applied aspects of principles and concepts are more easily understood chemistry. In engaging the interest of students in if they are demonstrated in the laboratory. The chemistry it is very important that significant properties of particular substances are more fully emphasis be placed on the ‘human face’ of appreciated if the student has the opportunity to chemistry. Students should be aware that chemistryexamine them and investigate relevant reactions at the laboratory bench. There is no better way to ‘bring chemistry to life’ than with suitable laboratory practical work. While it is vitally important that appropriate safety precautions be taken at all times it is also important that students be encouraged to approach practical chemistry in a positive and enthusiastic manner. The material in this handbook is arranged into ten modules plus a section on Gender and Science (see Contents). Each module is paginated independently. One index is provided for all the material, with page numbers preceded by a number to indicate the module. Thus, for example, ‘2: 47’ refers to Module 2, page 47. All of the content is also provided on the attached CD, along with the material from the Physics Handbook. It is intended that this will facilitate teachers in finding specific items of interest and in maximising on the use of the material in their classes. To this end teachers may print selected sections from the CD for class handouts or overhead transparencies. They may also incorporate selected topics into on-screen presentations and into class materials prepared in other software packages. All the material in this publication is subject to copyright and no part of it may be reproduced or transmitted in any way as part of any commercial enterprise without the prior written permission of the Department of Education and Science. THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SALE OR RESALE.GENDER AND SCIENCE DR SHEELAGH DRUDY Physics and Chemistry to human well-being. It is Introduction also important to improve women’s capacity to The Department of Education introduced the control nature and to appreciate the beauty of scheme of Intervention Projects in Physics and Physics and Chemistry. Chemistry in the 1980s. It formed part of the Just as important is the issue of employment. There Department’s programme for Equality of is no doubt that, in the future, the potential for job Opportunity for Girls in Education, and it arose from opportunities and careers in the scientific and the observation that, though half the population is technological areas will increase in significance for female, the majority of scientists and engineers are women, in comparison to the ‘traditional’ areas of male. In particular, it was a response to a concern in female employment. In so far as women are under- many quarters that females were very under- represented in scientific and technological areas, represented among Leaving Certificate Physics and they are disadvantaged in a labour market Chemistry candidates. The lack of representation increasingly characterised by this form of and participation of females in the physical employment. sciences, engineering and technology is not confined to Ireland. For the past two decades it has been a major concern throughout most of the Achievement and Participation industrialised world. International Comparisons Although girls and women are well represented in biological science, their participation and In order to put the issue of female participation in achievement at all levels of education in Physics Physics and Chemistry into context, it is useful to and Chemistry have been the focus of much consider the international trends. Since the 1970s a research. This research has sought not only to number of international comparisons of girls’ and describe and analyse female participation in boys’ achievements in science have been Physics and Chemistry but to identify ways of conducted. The earliest of these indicated that boys improving it. achieved better than girls in all branches of science at ages ten and fourteen, and at pre-university level. It is essential that girls and women orient Studies also showed that while girls were more themselves to the physical sciences and related likely to take Biology as a subject, they were a lot areas for two principal reasons. Firstly there is the less likely than boys to take Physics, Chemistry or question of women’s relationship to the natural Higher Mathematics. world. It is vital that women’s and girls’ participation in the physical sciences is improved in order to A recent international comparison focused on the increase women’s comprehension of the natural performance of girls and boys in science at age world and their appreciation of the contribution of 1thirteen. This study indicated that in most of the 20 grades awarded, boys are generally somewhat countries participating, 13 year old boys performed more likely to receive an award in the A categories significantly better than girls of that age. This on the Higher Level papers. However, a higher significant gender difference in performance was proportion of girls than boys receive awards at the B observed in Ireland, as well as in most of the other and C levels, so overall a higher proportion of girls participating countries. This difference was are awarded the three top grades in Physics and observed in spite of the fact that in Ireland, as in the Chemistry at Higher Level. The same is true at majority of countries, most students had positive Ordinary Level. Grade Point Average for girls in attitudes to science and agreed with the statement Physics and Chemistry is higher for girls than for that ‘science is important for boys and girls about boys at both Higher and Ordinary levels. Thus, in equally’. public examinations in Ireland, girls outperform boys in Physics, Chemistry and Junior Certificate Let us now consider the Irish context. Firstly, we Science. There is, therefore, no support for the should remember that relatively little science is notion that girls underachieve in the physical taught in schools before this age, so it could be sciences in Ireland, when results are based on suggested that boys have greater socialisation into performance in public examinations. scientific ‘culture’ by early adolescence (for example, through very gender-differentiated toys, This should not be taken to suggest that there is no comics and television programmes). In addition, the longer a problem in relation to gender and science international tests mentioned above relied heavily among Irish school-children. There is still a very on the use of multiple-choice. There is evidence that serious problem in relation to differential take-up the multiple-choice mode of assessment rates in science. disadvantages girls. Junior and Leaving Certificates: Participation 1 Junior and Leaving Certificates: Achievement At Junior Certificate level a lower proportion of girls The important relationship between mode of than boys are entered for science. At Leaving assessment and performance in the sciences Certificate level there are very marked variations in becomes evident when we examine the participation in science by gender. Indeed, overall, performance of girls in public examinations in more girls than boys sit for the Leaving Certificate. Ireland. Analysis of recent results from the Junior Biology is the science subject most frequently taken Certificate and the Leaving Certificate examinations by both boys and girls at Leaving Certificate. In reveals some interesting patterns. For example, at terms of participation rates, though, it is Junior Certificate level, of the candidates taking predominantly a ‘female’ subject since two-thirds of science, a higher proportion of girls are entered at the candidates are girls. Higher Level than is the case with boys. A higher By contrast, in terms of participation rates, Physics proportion of girls than boys receive grades A, B or is still very much a ‘male’ subject. Just under three- C. This is also the case at Ordinary Level. quarters of the Physics candidates are male. It is worthwhile noting that, although there is a great At Leaving Certificate level, while fewer girls than disparity in male and female take-up rates in boys are entered for Physics, a higher proportion of Physics, there has been a marked increase in the the girls who do take the subject are entered at proportion of females taking Physics since the early Higher Level. Traditionally, Chemistry has also been 1980s. This increase (albeit from a very low base) a male-dominated subject, though to a lesser extent has been the result of a number of factors - one of than Physics. More recently, the numbers of girls these is the response of second-level schools taking the subject has equalled, or even slightly (especially girls’ schools) to the findings of a major exceeded, the numbers of boys. However, as for 2 survey by the ESRI (Sex Roles and Schooling ) in Physics, a higher proportion of the girls who take the early 1980s. This study highlighted the the subject do so at Higher Level. As regards 2 Gender and Scienceextremely low proportion of girls taking Physics. Variations in provision according to school Another factor is the growing awareness among type girls of the importance of science for future careers. A survey in the early 1980s indicated a very A further important component in the improvement considerable discrepancy in the provision of in the take-up of Physics by girls is the impact of the Physics and Chemistry to girls and boys. Since then various phases of the Intervention Projects in provision of these subjects has improved, especially Physics and Chemistry. Evaluations of this in girls’ schools. However, the most recent analysis programme have shown that it has had an important of provision indicates the persistence of the impact on the participation levels in Physics and problem. Although provision for girls is now best in Chemistry among girls in the target schools. This single-sex schools, girls’ secondary schools are present handbook is the most recent example of the less likely to provide Physics to their pupils than are work of these worthwhile Intervention Projects. boys’ secondary schools. In co-educational schools However, while it is important to note the increase in girls are proportionately less likely to be provided participation by girls, it is also a matter of serious with the subject. concern that the imbalance in take-up rates between girls and boys in Physics is still so very Given the differential provision in the various school great. types, the provision of Physics and Chemistry for girls has been linked with the debate on co- In summary, then, as regards achievement and education. This is an important debate in an Irish participation in the physical sciences, it would context, in the light of the overall decline in pupil appear that girls are capable of the highest levels of numbers, the resulting school amalgamations and achievement. Indeed in terms of overall the decline in the single-sex sector. As indicated performance rates at Junior Certificate Science and above, for girls, the best provision in these two in Leaving Certificate Physics and Chemistry girls subjects is in girls’ single-sex secondary schools. now outperform boys. However, major problems still Provision for girls is less favourable in all other remain in relation to participation rates. While some types of school. However, it is very important to of the variation in these rates is no doubt due to the realise that research has pointed to the close attitudes and choices of girls, there is equally no relationship of take-up of science and social class. doubt that they are significantly affected by school Thus the weaker provision in vocational schools and policy, particularly as it relates to the provision of the community/comprehensive schools probably reflects subjects and the allocation of pupils to them within their higher intake of working-class children rather the school. than their co-educational structure. Nevertheless, this explanation, on its own, would not account for School Policy the variation between co-educational and single-sex secondary schools. Provision Concern with the effects of co-education on girls, Whether or not a subject is provided in a school is especially with regard to take-up and performance clearly a matter of policy for that particular school. in maths and science, is not confined to Ireland. For Obviously, there are constraining factors such as example, in Britain, it has been the focus of heated the availability of teachers with appropriate debate. Some have suggested that girls have more qualifications. This problem was the principal focus favourable attitudes to physical science in single- of the Intervention Projects in Physics and sex schools than in co-educational schools. It must Chemistry. The efforts made in these Projects have be noted that the results on attitudes in Ireland, from met with some considerable success. Nevertheless, a major Irish survey, are directly contrary to this. In the variability in provision in Ireland, according to the United States major controversies have arisen school type, indicates a very strong element of with the introduction of men to formerly all-women’s policy decisions in the provision of Physics and colleges. In Australia also the issue is a major policy Chemistry. Gender and Science 3one. There also it has been suggested that the Choice somewhat contradictory evidence must be As we have seen, schools need to critically evaluate assessed bearing in mind the higher ability intake in their policies on the provision of Physics and the majority of single-sex schools which are Chemistry, and their internal practices of allocation academically selective, and also the different social within the school, in order to improve the access of class intakes between types of school. It is not girls. However, such improvements do not possible to reach a conclusion here on the relative necessarily mean that girls will choose these merits of co-educational or single-sex schools. subjects unless other barriers to participation are However, anywhere there is a lack of provision of also addressed. For example, the ESRI study key subjects such as Physics and Chemistry it mentioned earlier found that even where schools should be a matter of concern to school authorities. offered Physics to pupils, over four times the proportion of boys to girls chose to do it. Analysis in Allocation the 1990s shows that, in spite of a rise in girls’ take- Closely linked to the matter of provision of Physics up rates in Physics, a marked differential is still and Chemistry is that of the allocation policy of the apparent. school. Research has shown that even where schools provide these subjects there tend to be Before we turn to an assessment of why considerable variations in access to them within the comparatively few girls choose to do Physics, even school. Allocation relates to a number of factors. In when it is available to them, let us consider briefly particular, it involves the academic prerequisites the concept of ‘choice’ itself. A great deal of that the school demands before allowing pupils to educational research has shown that so-called choose particular subjects. At Senior Cycle it also ‘choices’, made by school-children in relation to connects to the timetabling and availability of subject options and careers, are themselves highly different options. structured by the social situations within which they are made. When choosing options young people This may be of particular relevance to girls. They take account of the existing social context and the may be less inclined to choose a ‘non-traditional’ structure of opportunity available to their social option, such as Physics, if it is timetabled against a class or their sex. Thus, the perceptions that young subject perceived as more ‘feminine’ such as people have of the appropriateness of a particular Biology or Home Economics. The differential option to their social class and their sex become an achievement levels apparent in Physics and important element in their decision-making. Much of Chemistry mentioned earlier, i.e. the greater the international debate about girls and science has likelihood of girls obtaining grades A - C and of boys pointed to the very masculine image of the physical obtaining Grades E - NG at Higher Level, and the sciences. This masculine image, it has been proportionately greater number of awards to boys suggested, contributes in an important way to the than to girls in the D, E, F, and NG grades at formulation of girls’ attitudes to the physical Ordinary level in Physics and Chemistry, suggest sciences. that schools tend to encourage only their ‘star’ female pupils to take these subjects, and thus reflect a more selective access of female pupils to Attitudes these subjects at Leaving Certificate. Boys, on the ‘Masculine’ Image of Science other hand, appear to be allowed greater access irrespective of their ability levels. The formation of attitudes is a highly complex process. When attitudes relate to issues as fundamental as gender roles the processes become even more complex. Such attitudes are deeply rooted in early socialisation within the family, in the 4 Gender and Scienceschool and via the media. The debate about girls appointed to responsible or creative academic and science suggests that there may be a mismatch posts. The ‘masculine’ image of science reflects between the ‘masculine’ image of science unequal access to, and unequal relationships in, the (especially Physics and Chemistry), and girls’ scientific community. However, there are other ways identification with the ‘feminine’ role at a critical in which this masculine image can be interpreted. period of adolescent development. It has been argued that because science develops The first sense in which science can be regarded as in relation to specific social and historical ‘masculine’ is in the sense that men are numerically circumstances, in order to understand why girls predominant. Perusal of any science textbook will choose Biology rather than Physics we need to suggest to the reader that the vast majority of consider the social role of science in general and scientific discoveries of any importance were made the particular roles of the different sciences. It is by men. To a very large degree this does represent suggested that, in advanced industrial societies, a reality. However, this cannot be fully understood science has developed in relation to two major without the realisation that scientific discovery is objectives: increasing the efficiency of production itself as much a social process as a scientific one. (economic) and the development of means of social control (military). The status of the different For example, at a time when the foundations of sciences will vary according to their perceived contemporary scientific enquiry were being laid, economic and military significance at any particular especially in the late nineteenth and early part of the time. The higher their status, then the greater the twentieth century, women were not permitted to take exclusion of women in male-dominated societies, degrees in many of the European universities at the and the less relevant the subject matter is to issues forefront of scientific research, nor could they be of female concern. Therefore the variation in male members of the principal scientific societies. Even domination between Physics and Biology follows where women were involved in scientific discoveries from their different historical, economic and military it appears that they were allowed to carry out significance. practical work but the named authors were mostly male. Female and Male Roles and Behaviour Let us turn now to examine the link between the Recent years have seen the publication of a number image of the physical sciences, on the one hand, of accounts of the ways in which women’s scientific and male and female roles and behaviour, on the contributions have been rendered invisible through other. Physical science not only has a masculine the operation of male power structures in scientific image but also an impersonal image. Research institutions and universities. One of the best among school-children shows that they think that documented cases is that of Rosalind Franklin science has to do with things rather than people. whose crucial work on the analysis of DNA received This image may be more off-putting to girls than to scant recognition as a result of the difficulties boys. Caring for people, both physically and experienced by her in a male-dominated institution. emotionally, is an important part of the female role. Cases such as these no doubt have had an impact A subject which appears to ignore people can seem on women’s self-image in the scientific community. irrelevant to girls’ concerns. Indeed, transnational research on the attitudes and work of women 3 Kathleen Lonsdale pinpointed the causes for the scientists indicates that the scientific interests of relative dearth of women scientists as the relative women are interrelated with a profound commitment lack of women school teachers in ‘hard’ scientific to humanity and society. subjects, girls opting for ‘general science’ rather than mathematics, pure Physics or Chemistry, more Women have also been found to define themselves men than women continuing research after in terms of a network of relationships. Research has graduating and the small percentage of women suggested that their positive view of themselves is Gender and Science 5linked to their judgement of their capacity for caring. demanding passive reception rather than active Women tend to see the world as networks of involvement with the learning process. This relationships, men to see it in terms of hierarchies. perception of Physics and Chemistry as difficult may Boys, research indicates, are concerned with be more off-putting to girls than to boys, although making sense of the world through rules, and girls are more successful when they enter for these achieving an individual identity; they aspire to a subjects (linked, perhaps, to girls’ more selective position in a hierarchy. Girls’ concerns centre on entry). Boys’ higher entry to Physics may be linked developing a network of close relationships with to higher levels of self-confidence at that age. They other people. These differences in self-image and may be more likely to ‘have a go’, irrespective of the interest have an impact on subject choice and level of difficulty. Again, it may be that traditional career orientation. ‘male’ careers, such as engineering, exercise a greater attraction for boys thus making it easier, Another factor of relevance in the formation of psychologically, for them to take on subjects attitudes during adolescence is the difference in perceived as difficult. maturity between girls and boys. It has frequently been observed that girls tend to mature physically The twin images of Physics and Chemistry as both earlier than boys. At a period when important masculine and difficult, and the impact of these on subject choices are being made in schools, girls - the attitudes of girls, have significant implications. especially working class girls - are also becoming These revolve around the operation of school policy, involved with a ‘culture of femininity’ which involves the selection and presentation of the curriculum in an ideology of romance, marriage, family life, both subjects, and teaching methodologies in the fashion and beauty. Involvement with this culture, classroom and laboratory. which places heavy emphasis on traditional female roles, may well make girls reluctant to select Strategies For Action I: School Policy subjects which have a strong masculine image, such as Physics. Provision On the other hand Biology is very much a female If the proportion of girls taking Physics and dominated science. It can be argued that part of the Chemistry is to be improved, one of the most reason for this is because of its image as a ‘life’ obvious strategies for action for school authorities is science - and because it is the only science subject to improve the provision of these subjects in which deals at all with the topic of sexuality which is schools. Although marked improvements in so fascinating for adolescent girls. Sexuality is also provision have taken place over the last decade, fascinating for adolescent boys, of course. As we there still are considerable variations, especially in have already seen, more boys also select Biology some of the co-educational schools. This issue than any other science subject, even if they are in a needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. minority compared to girls. A further reason that girls may orient themselves to Biology in such Allocation disproportionate numbers is because of its In addition to increasing the provision of these perceived function as a prerequisite for certain subjects to both sexes, but especially to girls, the ‘traditional’ female careers, such as nursing. policy with relation to allocation within the school must be addressed, both at junior cycle and at Research has also suggested that, apart from being senior cycle. At junior cycle there is a strong perceived as masculine, Physics and Chemistry argument for making science a ‘core’ subject. have another ‘image problem’ which affects Although this is, in effect, the practice in the majority attitudes. Young people, it has been found, perceive of schools, the evidence shows that girls are still Physics and Chemistry as being very difficult, very less likely than boys to be entered for Junior mathematical, heavily content-loaded, very dull, and 6 Gender and ScienceCertificate Science. This can only serve to Whole School Approach perpetuate the notion that boys are somehow more The allocation issues have implications for teachers ‘suitable’ for science. of other subjects as well as for science subjects. This requires a holistic approach to science, as well At senior cycle the two key allocation factors appear as staff development in relation to general equality to be a) the combination in which various subject issues. The need for a whole school approach has options are offered and the way they are timetabled; been emphasised in evaluation of earlier phases of and b) the degree of selectivity practised by the the Intervention Projects in Physics and Chemistry. school for entry to Leaving Certificate Physics and Chemistry classes (e.g. the requirement of higher Careers Guidance level Maths (Syllabus A) at Junior Certificate, or a The whole school approach has implications not high grade in higher level Junior Certificate only for option choices and timetabling across the Science). There is little hope of improving girls’ whole curriculum but also, very particularly, for participation in Physics, for example, if taking careers guidance. Careers advice can be influential Physics eliminates the possibility of ‘traditional’ in encouraging girls in science. There is evidence female options such as Biology or Home that while both boys and girls benefit from careers Economics, to which girls are likely to be very well advice on science, girls notice it and respond to it predisposed. Furthermore, there is evidence to more than boys. Research indicates that where suggest that a high proportion of girls have less boys choose Chemistry, for instance, they say that confidence in their abilities to do Physics and they do so because they will need it in their careers Chemistry than boys do. Girls require considerable when in fact the careers chosen have no such encouragement from their teachers to take up these requirement (e.g. accountancy, banking, law). subjects, or related ones such as Higher Conversely, the same research shows that girls Mathematics. These factors are important for all often choose careers, such as nursing or catering, girls but more especially for working class girls who where Chemistry would be a useful qualification but are the group least likely to orient themselves to do not link the choice to Chemistry. It seems that Physics and Chemistry. while careers guidance can encourage more girls to orient themselves to Physics and Chemistry, it can The Allocation of Teachers to Science Classes also discourage them if the guidance counsellor is The allocation of teachers to science classes can not fully aware of the importance of these subjects reflect schools’ policies (and teachers’ attitudes to for girls. science). Many science teachers, particularly in girls’ schools, are Biology and/or Chemistry Parents graduates. They may not feel very comfortable with The school can also play a very positive role in Physics, and possibly Chemistry, at junior cycle. raising parental awareness of the importance of The Physics teachers may teach higher level subjects such as Physics and Chemistry for their mathematics, as well as Physics, and may not be daughters. In international comparisons, there is a allocated to Junior Science classes. This may lead statistically significant relationship between parental to the perception among students that to do Physics interest in science and pupil performance in science you should be doing higher level mathematics, that in many countries. Work on the earlier phases of the subjects such as Physics and Chemistry are Intervention Projects in Physics and Chemistry has difficult. Secondly, it means that senior cycle also indicated the importance of involving parents. Physics and Chemistry teachers may not know the junior cycle science pupils. This may affect take-up, In sum, then, school policy has an important role to given that girls may be more likely to link their play in increasing the participation of girls in Physics choices in some way to their relationship with their and Chemistry through the provision and allocation teachers. of the subjects, through a whole school approach to Gender and Science 7staff development and through the involvement of moments and forces by studying how muscles parents. work. Transition Year Strategies For Action II: The Curriculum The introduction of Transition Year into schools provides an opportunity to encourage more girls into Humanising Physics and Chemistry the physical sciences. There are issues both of We have seen that Physics and Chemistry school policy and of curriculum in the Transition developed as subject areas within a context of male Year that can affect the take-up of Physics and domination in universities and research institutions. Chemistry in the senior cycle. This, combined with the strong influence of economic and military interests in the generation of The structure of the science courses within the year, research in the physical sciences has given rise to the allocation of teachers, the question of choice, their largely ‘masculine’ image. This, it has been can all be considered when setting up the Transition argued, has been one barrier to the recruitment of Year. The Transition Year science course(s) may be girls and young women to science. optional modules, or part of a core curriculum. It may be the separate sciences, or general science Many experts have suggested that, in order to with no explicit Physics and/or Chemistry attract more girls to Physics and Chemistry, it is components. The course may be taught by one essential to tackle the curriculum itself. To make teacher, or by a number of teachers with a variety of science meaningful, science teachers must science specialisms. Students who did not take personalise and carefully contextualise science science for the Junior Certificate may or may not be itself, whilst invoking and accepting the previous permitted to take up any of the science subjects at experiences and prior knowledge that girls bring to this stage. The effect that policy decisions on the lessons. Students, especially girls, can be structure and organisation of the Transition Year motivated by being helped to see the physical may have on the take-up of Physics and Chemistry sciences (and mathematics) as a human creation, in the senior cycle needs to be considered. developed in a particular cultural and historical context, by individuals who were influenced by the School policy decides and defines the structure of needs and values of the society in which they lived. the courses taught in Transition Year. The courses Although science has been dominated by men, it is taught in Transition Year are developed by the also important to emphasise the areas (and there teachers in the school and often reflect their are many) where women have made significant interests and ideas. It can be an ideal opportunity to discoveries and achievements. develop girls’ confidence and competence in the Physical sciences before they begin the two year As well as presenting Physics and Chemistry within Leaving Certificate syllabuses. The contact with an historical and social contexts, research has shown interested and enthusiastic Physics/Chemistry that girls are more encouraged when examples are teacher and the development of confidence, used which relate developments and materials to particularly in the ability to cope with the contexts in which females have dominated. mathematics, may be what is needed to encourage Females have dominated in the domestic sphere, some students to take the physical sciences. It is an but of course in many other domains as well. This opportunity for teachers both to humanise Physics approach is particularly easy in Chemistry, but can and Chemistry and to develop ‘girl-friendly’ science. be adopted within Physics. There is also evidence that girls’ interest in physical science is increased by stressing its relevance to human biology. If, for example, girls are uninterested in finding out how machines work, they may be introduced to 8 Gender and Science‘Girl-Friendly’ Science compared with that of a girl. These results suggest that, even if there are differences between boys’ ‘Girl-friendly’ science is an approach that attempts and girls’ interest in and attitudes towards science, to place science in a context that appeals to both teachers may be further magnifying these differences. There is some evidence that teachers girls and boys, rather than to boys only. believe science education to be of greater Traditionally, many areas in the physical sciences importance to boys than to girls. If teachers believe have focused on issues which have been that boys are naturally better and more interested in predominantly of interest to boys rather than girls. scientific and technical subjects, this may become a Guidelines for a ‘girl-friendly science curriculum’, ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. arising from an English intervention project, the ‘Girls Into Science and Technology’ (GIST) project, It is known also from various studies that girls, include the following. especially those in their early teenage years, have less confidence in their own ability than boys do. (a) Set experiments in context by providing This is particularly the case in relation to traditionally background information about the possible uses male-dominated subjects such as Physics and and applications of scientific principles. Do this, Chemistry, and is especially manifested in the if possible, before the ideas are derived by context of mixed classes. Since lack of self- experiment - tell the pupils where they are going confidence militates against achievement - and and why. enjoyment - it is vitally important that girls’ confidence in their own ability be raised as much as (b) Link physical science principles to the human possible. body. The analysis of the Junior and Leaving Certificate (c) Stress safety precautions rather than dangers. examinations mentioned earlier shows that, while girls are participating less in Junior Certificate (d) Discuss scientific issues, e.g. the Science and in Physics, their level of achievement microprocessor revolution and unemployment, in these subjects, and in Chemistry, is, on average, energy and the bomb, aiming at a balanced better than that of boys. However, their level of view of the benefits and disadvantages of confidence in these subjects may not be scientific developments. commensurate. Consequently, teachers can do much to improve participation by support, (e) Make aesthetically appealing exhibitions. encouragement and high expectations. Girls need (f) Use imaginative writing as an aid to assimilating to be told they are capable, even if to the teacher this seems obvious. Teachers should strive to scientific principles and ideas. create a relaxed, supportive, non-competitive Girl-friendly teaching is good teaching. environment where pupils can gain and maintain confidence. 4 Strategies For Action III: Teaching Methods Encouraging Pupils in Single Sex and Mixed Classrooms Teachers’ Perceptions of Pupils Pupils in the classroom interact in a variety of There is evidence that, when it comes to girls different ways with teachers. Different strategies are participation in Physics and Chemistry, teachers are needed for girls-only classrooms, for boys-only particularly important. Educational research shows classrooms and for mixed classrooms if pupils are that, across a range of areas, teachers’ to experience Physics and Chemistry in an inclusive expectations have an impact on pupil performance. way. Some studies have shown a clear tendency on the part of teachers to overrate the work of a boy Gender and Science 9In girls-only classrooms, girls can be encouraged by Among the considerations should be the teaching styles that develop their confidence and organisation of working groups (mixed or single- enable them to cope with the different ideas and sex), the allocation and issuing of equipment to the skills that Physics and Chemistry demand. Girls groups and the attention paid by the teacher during the practical sessions. Boys can tend to both hog often prefer to work in a co-operative way, helping the equipment and take the active roles in practical each other. The team skills that girls prefer can be work. It is important that girls are as much expected useful in a career that develops out of their studies to do the work as the boys. It may be possible to of Physics or Chemistry. The use of social, personal involve more girls in the lesson by gearing the work and biological applications of Physics and to their interests and aptitudes. A more humanistic Chemistry should help in developing a warm, non- approach to Physics and Chemistry could be tried threatening classroom atmosphere. It is important to which might also improve girls’ attitudes to the praise girls, not just for their neatness and hard social implications of these subject areas. work, but for the excellence of their work. Practical work is essential and girls should develop their skills It has been suggested by research that the and competence in this area. introduction of co-operative learning activities benefits female students. Teachers who use In boys-only classrooms, it is equally important that student-centred, ‘problem-driven’, enquiry methods boys realise that Physics and Chemistry include in science have been found to be more effective in men and women. The image of Physics and maintaining girls’ liking for the subject. These Chemistry presented should be inclusive of girls methods involve co-operation among students and and women. Comments below about the layout and allow less opportunity for a competitive spirit to presentation of laboratories and of posters apply develop. Collaborative, problem-solving work allows equally to boys’ classrooms. Women and men girls to make effective use of their verbal abilities should be shown working in Physics and Chemistry which can help to clarify their ideas and boost self- in non-stereotypical ways. Boys should be confidence. encouraged to work co-operatively and to share equipment and other resources. A range of Laboratory Organisation applications should be taught including the social, personal and biological, not just the mechanical and The layout and presentation of the technical. Physics and Chemistry are about people laboratory/classroom is an important consideration and boys need to realise this just as much as girls. in encouraging students to take up Physics and Chemistry. A clean, bright room can be friendly and In mixed classrooms, there has been a welcoming. Posters that reflect a range of considerable amount of research which shows that applications, not just mechanical and technical, and teachers interact differently with girls and boys in all that show that people (both women and men) are subject areas. This is as much the case in science involved in Physics and Chemistry can encourage classrooms as in any other. Boys both demand and girls and give them the confidence to feel that they get more teacher attention. A significant amount of can belong in the world of the physical sciences. the attention boys get is in the form of disciplinary interventions. However, they also receive more Teaching Behaviour and Techniques for praise from teachers. In some science classes Encouraging Girls into Physics and Chemistry teaching may be mainly directed to the boys with and Retaining Them girls ‘listening in’. However, if teachers find that for various reasons (perhaps disciplinary) they are Research in the United States by Jane Kahle has unavoidably spending more time interacting with summarised successful strategies for encouraging boys in the lesson, to compensate they can spend girls to pursue science. The teaching behaviour and more time with the girls after class, or during techniques that are effective for retaining girls and practical sessions. Teachers should ensure that women in science are as follows: practical work is organised fairly for girls and boys. 10 Gender and ScienceDO The bibliography gives a list of sources. Detailed referencing is to be found in Drudy, 1996. • use laboratory and discussion activities • provide career information 3. Kathleen Lonsdale was born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare in 1903 – see module on Some Irish • directly involve girls in science activities Contributions to Chemistry, p. 25. • provide informal academic counselling 4.I would like to gratefully acknowledge the • treat both sexes equally in the science classroom contribution and assistance of Marian Palmer • directly involve girls in science activities with this section and with the section on the Transition Year. • allocate and issue equipment fairly to all students DON’T Bibliography • use sexist humour BOURDIEU, P. and PASSERON, J. P. 1977. • use stereotyped examples Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture, London: Sage. • distribute sexist classroom material BRUSH, S. G. 1991. ‘Women in Science and • allow boys to dominate discussions or activities Engineering’, American Scientist, Vol. 79, • allow girls to passively resist September-October, pp. 404-419. BURTON, L. 1990. Gender and Mathematics: an Conclusion International Perspective, London: Cassell. In conclusion, teachers can play a key role in BYRNE, E. 1993. Women and Science: The Snark increasing the participation of girls in Physics and Syndrome, London: Falmer. Chemistry. They can do this through having high expectations of their female students, by giving CLARKE, B. 1989. Women and Science, Hove, them strong support and encouragement, by East Sussex: Wayland. ensuring a fair, relaxed and hassle-free atmosphere in mixed classrooms, by using a good variety of COLDRON, J. and BOULTON, P. 1990. Integrating teaching methods which are student-centred and Equal Opportunities in the Curriculum of Teacher problem-solving and by using group as well as Education: Phase II (1989-90) Report, Tenet individual work. Excellent science teaching must European Community Action-Research Project, also be innovative and exciting. ‘Science must be Sheffield City Polytechnic: School of Education. presented as not only basic but beautiful.’ DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, 1994. Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate Examination Notes Statistics 1993, Dublin: Department of Education, Circular S17/94. 1. The commentary on gender differences in uptake and performance in the sciences in public DRUDY, S. 1981. School Leavers in Transition, examinations is based on analysis of the 1993 Cambridge: University of Cambridge, Unpublished Junior and Leaving Certificate Examination Ph. D. Dissertation. results. This detailed analysis is provided in Drudy, 1996. DRUDY, S. 1996. ‘Gender Differences in Participation and Achievement in the Physical Sciences and 2. In order to assist the flow of the text, the material Mathematics’ in Teacher Education for Equality, E. is not referenced in the usual academic format. Befring (Ed.), Oslo: Oslo College. Gender and Science 11DRUDY, S. and LYNCH, K. 1993. Schools and NÍ CHÁRTHAIGH, D. and O’SULLIVAN, C. 1988. Society in Ireland, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Pilot Intervention Projects in Physics and Chemistry: Report of External Evaluators, Dublin: HANNAN, D. et al. 1983. Schooling and Sex Roles: Department of Education. Sex Differences in Subject Provision and Student Ó CONAILL, N. 1991. ‘Girls and Science: Equality Choice in Irish Post-Primary Schools, Dublin: in School or Society?’ Irish Educational Studies, Vol. Economic and Social Research Institute. 10, pp.82-95. INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPS, P. S. and MCKAY, R. 1994. ‘Women in EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS, 1992. Learning Science: a Brief History Within Chemistry’, SSR, Science, New Jersey: Educational Testing Service. Vol. 76, No. 274, pp. 132-137. INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS EDUCATION. 1986. Girls PORTER, G. 1993. A Comparative Study of the and Science: a Better Deal. A Resource Pack for Career Path Choices of Girls From Intervention Science Teachers, London: Institute of Physics. Project Schools and From Other Schools, Dublin: KAHLE, J. B. (ed.), 1985. Women in Science: a Department of Education, Intervention Projects in Report from the Field, Philadelphia and London: Physics and Chemistry. Falmer. ROBERTS, K. 1968. ‘The Entry into Employment: KELLY, A. 1978. Girls and Science, Stockholm: an Approach Towards a General Theory’, Almqvist and Wiksell International. Sociological Review, Vol. 16, pp. 165-184. KELLY, A. (ed.). 1981. The Missing Half: Girls and SAYRE, A. 1978. Rosalind Franklin and DNA, Science Education, Manchester: Manchester London: W. W. Norton and Company. University Press. STOLTE-HEISKANEN, V. (ed.). 1991. Women in KELLY, A. (ed.), 1987. Science for Girls?, Milton Science: Token Women or Gender Equality? Keynes: Open University Press. Oxford/New York: Berg Publishers. MARTIN, M. O. and HICKEY, B. L. 1992. The 1991 WATTS, M. and BENTLEY, D. 1994. ‘Humanising Leaving Certificate Examination: A Review of the and Feminizing School Science: Reviving Results, Dublin: NCCA. Anthropomorphic and Animistic Thinking in constructivist Science Education’, International MARTIN, M. O. and HICKEY, B. L. 1993. The 1992 Journal of Science Education, Vol. 16, No. 1 pp. Junior Certificate Examination: A Review of the 83-97. Results, Dublin: NCCA. WOOLNOUGH, B. E. 1994. ‘Why Students Choose McEWEN, A. and CURRY, C. 1987. ‘Girls’ Access to Physics, or Reject It’, Physics Education, Vol. 29, Science: Single Sex Versus Co-Educational pp. 368-374. Schools’, in R. Osborne et al. (eds.), Education and Policy in Northern Ireland, Belfast: Queen’s YOUNG, D. 1994. ‘Single-sex Schools and Physics University (Policy Research Institute). Achievement: Are Girls Really Disadvantaged?’, International Journal of Science Education, Vol. 16, McROBBIE, A. 1978. ‘Working Class Girls and the pp. 315-325. Culture of Femininity’, in Women’s Studies Group, Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (eds.), Women Take Issue, London: Hutchinson. 12 Gender and ScienceMODULE 1 Atomic Structure and Trends in the Periodic Table of the ElementsCONTENTS Chapter 1 Atomic Structure 1.1 Introduction 1 1.2 Ideas from Ancient Greece 1 1.3 Alchemy 2 1.4 Later Developments Based on Observation (1650-1850) 2 Boyle – Dalton – Gay-Lussac – Avogadro – Cannizzaro – Atomic Masses– Atomic Symbols 1.5 The Architecture of the Atom 5 The Electron – Canal rays – Radioactivity – Marie and Pierre Curie – Rutherford – The Proton 1.6 Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics 11 1.7 Atomic Spectra and the Bohr Model of the Atom 12 1.8 The Bohr-Sommerfeld Model of the Atom 14 1.9 Wave Mechanics 15 1.10 Wave Mechanics Applied to the Atom 16 Orbitals – Shapes of Orbitals – Quantum Numbers 1.11 Relativity and the Atom 18 1.12 Atomic Structure and Multi-Electron Atoms 18 Aufbau Principle – Pauli Exclusion Principle – Hund’s Rule – Electron Configurations 1.13 Structure of the Nucleus 21 The Neutron – Isotopes – The Mass Spectrometer – Other Elementary Particles 1.14 Problem Solving 24 1.15 Experiments 26 1.16 References 34 iChapter 2 Periodic Classification of the Elements 2.1 The Elements 37 Early History – Electrolysis – Spectroscopy – Inert Gases – Radioactivity – Naming the Elements 2.2 Döbereiner’s Triads 43 2.3 Newlands' Octaves 43 2.4 Meyer’s Curves 44 2.5 Mendeleev’s Periodic Law and Periodic Table of the Elements 45 2.6 Moseley, Soddy and the Modern Version of the Periodic Table 47 2.7 References 49 Chapter 3 Trends in the Periodic Table 3.1 Atomic Radius 51 Idea of Atomic Radius – Definition – Measurement – Trends – Isoelectronic species 3.2 Ionisation Energies 54 Definition – Idea of First Ionisation Energies – Measurement – Trends – Successive Ionisation Energies 3.3 Electron Affinity 57 Definition – The Idea of Electron Affinity – Trends 3.4Electronegativity 59 The Idea of Electronegativity – Definition – Measurement – Linus Pauling – Trends – Bonding – Dipole Moments 3.5 Experiments 63 3.6 References 63 Appendix A General Bibliography 65 Appendix B Resource Material 67 iiATOMIC STRUCTURE CHAPTER1 1 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Ideas from Ancient Greece How can a study of atomic structure help us solve Earlier than the sixth century BC the Greek a wide range of problems in society, in agriculture, philosophers had begun to consider the nature of in medicine, in the environment, etc., as well as matter. As with most of their theories, their ideas improving our understanding of theoretical chem- were not based on experimentation – they istry? considered any work of the hands demeaning – but on speculation and logical reasoning. Experi- Do you know how an understanding of atomic mentation, when it was carried out, was always structure can: used to reinforce the existing theory rather than (i) help solve crime, e.g. hit-and-run accidents as a source of new theories. The ideas of the or forgery; Greek philosophers in mathematics, medicine, and science in general, were very influential and (ii) analyse the soil for fertiliser requirements; their ideas continued to have an impact on the development of chemistry for nearly two thousand (iii) make fireworks displays colourful; years afterwards. (iv) produce highly efficient, more economical, If we trace our knowledge of the nature of matter more environmentally friendly, lighting; back through history to this period we find that (v) monitor the environment for pollutants; Empedocles (c.490–435 BC) was the originator of the idea of elements. Empedocles was not the (vi) discover the composition of the sun and first person to contemplate the nature of matter distant galaxies; but his theory is the most ancient one to be still (vii) satisfy a basic psychological need? incorporated in some way in the modern picture of atomic structure. Prior to Empedocles there were other theories suggesting that water was the A complete account of how atomic theory has origin of all the cosmos or that fire was some sort developed from the first musings of the ancient of primal matter which gave rise to water and Greeks to today’s detailed picture would be very earth, etc. Indeed Empedocles based his theory lengthy. For brevity and simplicity only the main on these earlier ideas and suggested that there contributors will be mentioned. They bring us from were four elements, namely, fire, air, earth and the Greek philosophers of the sixth century BC, water, each composed of minute unchanging past the dabblings of the alchemists, through the particles, and that all visible matter is made up of period when studies of wave mechanics and these ‘roots’. Empedocles further proposed that relativity revealed much about the nature of matter. We shall see how those problems and these roots could be combined together by Love issues listed above are solved as we proceed. and separated by Strife. So even in this 5th –––––––––– century BC theory are contained the ideas that Numbers refer to the references on page 34. 1