Nan Austin

December 18, 2013

Science takes up the battle of the sexes at Central Catholic High

Do girls think faster than boys? The evidence says: Keep debating, it’s a great way to learn science.

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Do girls think faster than boys?

Central Catholic High School biology students took up the challenge this fall. Five boys and five girls were the test subjects. A review of research literature led to an initial hypothesis that females have the greater grey-matter. Experiment 1 checked how fast each could recite a list of colors written in the corresponding color and then in a different color. In Experiment 2, the subjects tapped out a series of spoken letters.

The boys showed superior results in both cases, disproving the hypothesis in this limited study, and adding fuel to the fire for the next students to take up this scientific inquiry.

No matter how wrong-headed we clearly superior females regard this conclusion, the study adds to the evidence that great topics for scientific debate are everywhere. With new science standards adopted in September, and an emphasis on STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - teaching for 21st century jobs, this type of high-interest inquiry can be a real brain-snagger.

“STEM education holds great value not only for our kids, but for our businesses, our economy, and our entire state,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “Job growth is more pronounced in the STEM fields than anywhere else; if we want our students to succeed outside our classrooms, we have to prepare them with the knowledge and skills they will need.”

The first order of business, of course, was to come up with a new acronym: STEAM is the new STEM, adding the Arts to the mix. Research has long shown music and math to be synergistic studies. Visual analysis and creativity developed in drawing develops skills useful in architecture and engineering.

Free-form doodles and orderly grids - turns out we need them both.

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