Course introduction

Who is this course for?

This online open educational resource (OER) is designed for teachers of late primary and early secondary pupils. There is no requirement to have a background or role related to STEM.

Course rationale

There is an underrepresentation of female students in STEM subjects at school. This is at least in part due to unconscious bias in the classroom, sexism in the school environment and wider society, a lack of ‘science capital’ among female school pupils and gender self-policing among school pupils, particularly between P5-S3. This has led to few women progressing to study STEM subjects at college or university and into STEM careers. There is a need to challenge stereotypes and perceptions about which subjects are appropriate for boys and girls, something which should be beneficial for the engagement, success and progression of all pupils.

Course aims and learning outcomes

This course aims to reduce barriers for participation in STEM subjects by female students by challenging gender stereotyping and building STEM capital in the classroom, using an enquiry based approach. This online OER is designed not only to deliver information but to contribute towards transformational change in schools.

The learning outcomes state that by the end of the course you will have:

  • Explored the structural natures and harm of gender inequality and stereotyping
  • Explored the causes of female underrepresentation in STEM
  • Understand the concept of unconscious bias and explored how it influences teaching in relation to STEM
  • Understand what STEM capital is and different theories of how to build it in the classroom and how it relates to gender equality
  • Built confidence in teaching and delivering science experiments and STEM based materials
  • Gained experience and confidence in leading classroom discussions on science, STEM subjects, gender equality and stereotypes, and facilitating pupil conversations and learning in relation to subject choice and school experience
  • Reflected on your own practice and experience

Course overview

Teachers will study online course material individually, discuss the course themes offline with colleagues, facilitate classroom activities, and reflect on the impact of activities and their own current and future practice.

The course is split into three sections:

  1. Gender equality and stereotyping
  2. Unconscious bias
  3. Building STEM capital

Each section is organised as follows: aims and learning outcomes, online course content, an online quiz, teacher group discussion guides and classroom materials. A fourth discussion guide is provided to facilitate reflection on learning and next steps for your school. A final course quiz will give teachers the opportunity to receive a digital badge upon completion.

The course is estimated to take approximately 24 hours including 12 hours of online learning, 6 hours of group discussions, and 6 hours of classroom activities.


This course will be assessed through a short formative quiz at the end of each section and an end of course quiz. You will be required to click on each section of the course. A pass rate of 70% is required on the final quiz to be awarded a digital badge as outlined in the Course and badge information [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Multiple attempts at the quizzes are permitted and there is no time limit.

How to use the course

Teachers will be able to study the material as individuals but the course exercises, activities and resources will work best with a cohort of teachers studying, learning and working together. Research shows that the most effective initiatives aimed at improving equality and inclusion for pupils are developed and undertaken at a school level (rather than classroom or local authority level). This course is therefore designed to support a school-based group of teachers, ideally with buy-in and support from senior management to enable recommendations from the group and school-wide actions to be carried out.

You can now go to Section 1: Gender stereotypes and equality.