When it comes to physics, boys can aim higher than girls . . .

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Camilla Turner ed­u­ca­tion edi­tor

BOYS are bet­ter at physics be­cause they learn about “pro­jec­tion” while go­ing to the lava­tory, re­searchers claim.

From a young age, boys are taught about how to aim ac­cu­rately so that they do not make a mess in the bath­room, and this gives them a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of “pro­jec­tile mo­tion”, ac­cord­ing to three aca­demics.

Writ­ing for the Times Ed­u­ca­tion Sup­ple­ment (TES), Anna Wil­son of Aber­tay Uni­ver­sity and Kate Wil­son and David Low of the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales Can­berra, ex­plained their the­ory.

“Play­ful uri­na­tion prac­tices – from see­ing how high you can pee to games such as Pee­ball (where men com­pete us­ing urine to de­stroy a ball in a uri­nal) – may give boys an ad­van­tage over girls when it comes to physics,” they wrote.

The re­searchers said they have ex­am­ined gen­der dif­fer­ences in achieve­ment on physics tests, and found that girls gen­er­ally per­form worse than boys, but with a more marked gap in spe­cific topic ar­eas.

“In par­tic­u­lar, the largest gaps in per­for­mance be­tween girls and boys arise in ques­tions that in­volve pro­jec­tile mo­tion – things that have been thrown, kicked, fired, etc,” they said.

“On some pro­jec­tile ques­tions, we’ve seen only around one-third of girls an­swer cor­rectly, com­pared to two-thirds of boys. This isn’t a triv­ial gap in per­for­mance, par­tic­u­larly when a di­ag­nos­tic test may con­tain sev­eral ques­tions on pro­jec­tiles.”

They said this is sig­nif­i­cant since the physics cur­ricu­lum of­ten uses pro­jec­tile mo­tion as the start­ing point for more so­phis­ti­cated me­chan­i­cal con­cepts such as force, en­ergy and mo­men­tum.

“This is even done be­cause it is as­sumed to be more fa­mil­iar, and hence eas­ier to re­late to,” they said.

The re­searchers con­cluded that there is “no sim­ple way” to pro­vide girls with the same op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­plor­ing pro­jec­tile mo­tion that boys have.

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