As part of National Science Week 2018, nine John Curtin College of the Arts Year 10 students took part in a workshop at Curtin University to engage girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through dance.

The five dance and four computing students, worked with internationally renowned Yamilee Toussaint from New York-based STEM from Dance, to explore the ways science and technology can enhance the arts.

John Curtin College of the Arts science teacher Peta Scorer said science and the arts had always been connected and the workshop reiterated the link between the two and showed the significance of creativity in STEM.

“Some of the world’s best artists have been scientists and the critical and creative thinking that you need for art, you also need for science,” she said.

“People think they’re separate and you can only be good at one, when in reality, the skills you need for both of them are really similar.”

The workshop highlights this year’s National Science Week theme, ‘Game Changers and Game Makers’, by giving students the chance to choreograph a dance using wearable technology, pressure sensors and trigger lights.

The workshop was followed by a presentation from Yamilee and Rachael Bott from Creative Moves WA, to discuss engaging girls in STEM.

Yamilee is the founder and CEO of STEM from Dance, which was created to increase the number of under-privileged and minority girls pursuing a STEM education.

Peta said the students from John Curtin College of the Arts were selected because they were considering studying STEM subjects in Year 12, and that it was important for girls to stay involved in science throughout their schooling.

“Girls are great at science and STEM subjects in lower school but they don’t seem to be in the same numbers in upper school,” she said.

“Even though they have the ability, it seems somewhere along the way they lose enthusiasm or self-efficacy so it is really important we show girls there are amazing STEM careers out there.”

National Science Week runs from 11 August to 19 August and the STEM for Dance workshop took place on Friday 10 August at Curtin University.

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