The effect of informal and formal interaction between scientists and children at a science camp on their images of scientists

September 1st, 2011 | RESEARCH

A number of studies have already investigated children's stereotypical images of scientists as being male, old, bald, wearing eyeglasses, working in laboratories, and so forth. There have also been some interventions to impose more realistic images of scientists. In this study, a science camp was conducted in Turkey with a team of scientists consisting of elementary science education researchers. They interacted with the children throughout the camp both formally and informally. Twenty-four 6th and 7th grade students participated to the science camp. The science camp was conducted near a forest and big lake, and lasted ten days in July, 2008. The main goal of the science camp program was to introduce the nature of science and scientists. In one session of the science camp, the children's images of scientists were made explicit through analysis and discussion of their drawings of a scientist, and challenged by introducing them to three non-stereotypical scientists. The camp team consisting of scientists worked and stayed with the children throughout the science camp. Thus, they interacted with the children in formal and informal ways. The change in the children's images of scientists was researched by applying the Draw a Scientist Test (DAST) (Chambers, 1983) as pre- and post-test. Additionally, all the children were interviewed about their drawings. The only stereotypical images found in the pre-test were being male and slightly older. However, almost equal numbers of male and female scientists were drawn in the post-test, and most of them were middle aged or young. Other stereotypical images of scientists emerged less in the pre-test and decreased in the post-test. In conclusion, the science camp helped the children to realize the human nature of scientists.


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Team Members

Gulsen Leblebicioglu, Author, Abant Izzet Baysal University
Duygu Metin, Author, Abant Izzet Baysal University
Esra Yardimci, Author, Abant Izzet Baysal University
Pinar Seda Cetin, Author, Abant Izzet Baysal University


Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 1450-104X

Publication: Science Education International
Volume: 22
Number: 3
Page(s): 158

Related URLs

EBSCO Full Text


Audience: Middle School Children (11-13)
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Nature of science
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Public Programs | Summer and Extended Camps