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Bias busting
For Teachers.
As teachers you have the power
to influence and shape
young minds.
The lessons you impart
show the students of today
what is possible
tomorrow
As students go through their education they will naturally feel pulled toward some subjects and away from others. Ideally, this should happen with little outside influence, and they are given the chance to question their choices and change their minds as many times as they like; all while feeling supported in their journey.

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

Harmful stereotypes influence students from a young age.

The culprits are numerous, from the toys kids play with, to feedback from peers and teachers, to the media's representation of people working in these fields. You may have a role in perpetuating stereotypes, without even realizing it.

These stereotypes can be particularly damaging when it comes to STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering, and math.

Studies have shown that specific demographics, such as girls, Indigenous students, and 2SLGBTQ+ students, are nudged away from STEM subjects at a young age.

As a teacher, you play a critical role in being a part of the change. By supporting and engaging your students, learning more about implicit and explicit bias, and how to counteract their effects (both your own and those of your students), you can be an active participant in creating a more equitable future for engineering and geoscience; and a safer, better world for us all.
Resources
Bias interruption.
Implicit bias is a behavior that arises from subconscious associations, which may even contradict our explicit values. To have bias is normal, at times even helpful, but biases can also be harmful. When bias plays a role in classrooms and schools, it can have potentially devastating effects.
We're all subject to bias, even in our own classrooms. When we are made aware of them, we can employ tools that help us see the whole picture and treat all students with dignity, care, and equal opportunities to encourage students' interest in STEM subjects.
Teaching
About Bias.
When dealing with bias of any kind,
to not address the bias
is to empower it.
By creating open discussion about what bias is and its affects with students from a young age helps them identify and re-evaluate their own bias, and choose behaviours that move our society forward. It will also equip them for the hardships they may face in the world, and give them tools to overcome them.

By bringing these discussions into the classroom you can reconfirm that it is a safe space for students to challenge their own assumptions and create new understanding.
The work you do in your classroom will empower students to question what they see in the world and will create a network of students who will change the environments around them.
Follow this link for resources on teaching about bias:
Spaghetti
Bridge Competition.
The Spaghetti Bridge is an exercise beloved by both students and teachers across Manitoba, and a great way to spark interest in all students in Engineering. Held annually in Manitoba since 1995, as part of Provincial Engineering and Geoscience Week, it is a vehicle for celebrating and reminding Canadians of the importance of engineering in our lives, and as a career choice.

The Spaghetti Bridge Truss Strength Competition brings students from grades K-12 together, individually or in teams up to three members, to design and build trusses using only regular spaghetti and white or wood glue. The bridges are then tested to destruction to see which truss withstands the most weight.
Provincial Engineering and Geoscience Week is March 1 - 8, 2020
Spaghetti Bridge Competition
Prizes.
$100
Winner for
each grade
$250
Grand prize,
overall winner
from grades K-6
$250
Grand prize,
overall winner
from grades 7-12
School Groups with 10 OR MORE STUDENTS participating in the competition are eligible to receive a $100 pizza party for their class!
Camps and
Classes.
Students who participate in extra-curricular STEM activities show greater interest in pursuing studies in the fields.

Encourage your students to check out these camps.
University Entrance
Requirements.
Engineering and Geocience entrance requirements:

Grade
Classes Required
9
Mathematics 10F
Science 10F
10
Intro to Applied and Pre-Calculus Mathematics 20F
Science 20F
11
Pre-Calculus Mathematics 30F
Chemistry 30S
Physics 30S
12
Pre-Calculus Mathematics 40F
Chemistry 40S
Physics 40S
English 40S
Let's talk about
Diversity.
Currently, there's a conversation happening in Canada about the lack of diversity and representation in Engineering and Geoscience. In Manitoba, only 17% of newly licensed engineers identified as women, and 1% identified as Indigenous in 2019. At that same time, 33% of newly licensed geoscientists identified as women, but none identified as Indigenous. That's a problem, because Engineers and Geoscientists work to protect the public. If we don't have a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds and cultures at the table to make decisions, we all lose out on solutions that reflect the needs of our communities. Our members must represent the rich diversity of our province.

The lack of diversity in these fields is not due to an absence of ability, but rather, due to persisting biases and stereotypes. Numerous other countries - like Malaysia, Oman, Iran and Saudi Arabia - have higher percentages of women working in engineering.

This is why Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba has made a formal commitment to closing the gaps in our professions. Because the problems we face today require everyone to be thinking of solutions that have an effect on us all.
This can have negative consequences, and even put certain populations and communities at risk. Read on about some ways a lack of diversity has negatively impacted the public at large and how it can be fixed: